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Poetry^^ R A /?"
Thus to Revisit (iv)
Letters : Posted and Unposted
The Poet's Allegory
The Recognition of Mr. H. A. Barker
Decadence in Singing
After Two Years of Peace
Credit or Bankruptcy
The Decline of Literary Criticism
Charwomen, not " Balbrigands "
When Ghosts Fail
W. H. Stephens
Ford Madox Hueffer
S. H. McGrady
W. L. Williams
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THE ENGLISH REVIEW
Edited by Austin Harrison
CONTENTS OF THE ONE<HUNDRED,AND'FORTY'FOURTH NUMBER
1. W. H. STEPHENS
2. JOHN HELSTON
3. HAROLD BLIND
4. MURIEL STUART
5. JOAN BEVAN
6. VLADIMIR NABOKOFF
7. MARY WEBB
To the Unknown
Mrs. Effingham's Swan
While Waiting in
When The Thorn
8. F. HAMILTON
9. FORD MADOX HUEFFER Thus to Revisit... (iv)
10. ROBERT BRIFFAULT We
[Contents continued on page x.
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S. H. McGRADY
Letters : Posted and
The Poet's Allegory
\\ . L. WILLIAMS
The Recognition of
Mr. H. A. Barker
Decadence in Singing
After Two Years of
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The Decline of
" Balbrigands "
When Ghosts Fail
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X Civil Military &. Naval Jailors
of OLD BOND ST LONDON W
By II. Dennis Bradley
SUDDENLY, a week or so back,
without warning, without oppor-
tunity for deliberation, without escape
for thoughtful preparation, I was faci d
with a fundamental, political, psycho-
logical, emotional, humanitarian,
Christian, international, financial and
A German walked into my office in
Bond Street. What was a patriotic
Britisher to do? Should I throw my
beautiful but weighty bronze Cupid at
his head? Should I telephone the
"Daily Mail"? Should I acquaint
the Welsh Wizard, or should I seek
the assistance of Scotland Yard?
I had to think quickly. It was
seven years since we had met. He
was then as anti-militarist as I am
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millions of other Germans, was
certainly not responsible for the rulers
of Germany plunging Europe into war.
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a rule, pro-anything, except pro-self, but
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He had fought throughout the war
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He told me he had ordered from my firm one suit of clothes.
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I was amazed to find myself the chief of a gang of brigands, until he explained that
he had been charged about £16, which, on the rate of exchange in German marks, had
cost him the equivalent of £200
Here is a big economic problem. Unless one is decadent or sentimental one must
face facts. It is two years since the Armistice was signed. Is it to be peace or war?
Is Britain to trade freely and internationally and recover, or remain revengefully
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skin-alive or resuscitate? I merely put the question since I am a philosophical
But the whole financial system of Europe is really one unit, and it is now in utter
chaos. Britain must trade with her late enemies, the Central Powers, and she must
trade with her late ally, Russia. If national bankruptcy is to be avoided it must not be
next year but at once. And from all the signs, America is likely to be a stern
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To meet the many requests, reproductions of some of this
series of pictures, including " The Interrupted Jazz,"
" The Beautiful Rag," and '•' Victory," arc now published
in colour, 17" by 12" at Is. each.
To the Unknown Flower
By W. H. Stephens
One day I found you growing in the hedge
Uncouth, with wayward sprawlings left and right,
The stems upclimbing through a branchy hedge
Then thrusting through to meet the air and light;
I knew you were
A stranger, stranded there !
Some dagger leaves were rayed about the stem,
So dry and dusty that you looked forlorn,
But you had curled, and made a diadem
Of emerald sprays a Queen might well have worn,
Young leaves benight
With filtered emerald light !
And thus I loved the beauty of your sprays
That trailed in glory, gently quivering;
And often came to watch your gipsy ways,
And thrilled one day to see a wondrous thing, —
A Star, between
The rifts of cloudy green !
A little spike of tiny flowers was there,
Each flower a perfect star of silver mist;
And from each misty petal, passing fair
Arose a dainty Stamen 10 be kissed
By zephyr lips
On blushing powdered tips !
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
Maybe the golden glamour of the kiss
Would fall upon a Carpel's yearning heart,
And in the sweet fruition of its bliss
Create the seed of Nature's secret art,
With life sublime
To phase in quickening time.
So much, O wayward plant, of Life's Romance
Lies here in prickly leaves and dusty stems
With patience longing for an utterance,
Until it bursts in coruscating gems
Of Nature's glee
And primal mystery.
By John Helston
A brightness stirs by the water's edge,
As beautiful as the feet of Spring
By the willowed pool with its banks of ling
When west winds rule at its whispering.
A darkness whirs from a cove of sedge.
Ere one can cry : " What iL3ans the thing ! "
A crow and a sea-gull strive in flight
As they wheel together to left and right.
But if your soul, from dark or shine,
Turn but to grey,
A ghost that's in your spine
Shall take away
Your sins and Springs, —
Ay, cut your wings
For good and evil in that day !
By Harold Blind
This rain-chilled morning, ere I woke.
Your sweet lithe nakedness against my heart was pressed ;
And the slow restless fever in my blood had broke.
.We drowsed, united; and the Gods had blessed
The spiritual marriage that the mysterious fusion
Of our flesh expressed.
So real, the exquisitely warm and fragrant touch
Of you; and I could feel your soft, swift kiss
Cling to my mouth — your hands hold mine.
Would it not mean much
If we could live for ever, linked . . . like this?
If this were " life eternal " — as it well might be
For those who love each other, living pure in heart, and
Then I, for one, would never fear the gulf Eternity
To which men go through Death's star-curtained gate.
Mrs. Effingham's Swan Song
By Muriel Stuart
I am growing old : I have kept youth too long,
But I dare not let them know it now.
I have done the heart of youth a grievous wrong,
Danced it to dust and drugged it with the rose,
Forced its reluctant lips to one more vow.
I have denied the lawful grey,
So kind, so wise, to settle in my hair;
I am friends no more with April, but September has not
taught me her repose .;
I wish I had let myself grow old in the quiet way
That is so gracious ... I wish I did not care . . .
My faded mouth will never flower again,
Under the paint the wrinkles fret my eyes,
My hair is dull beneath its henna stain,
I have come to the last ramparts of disguise.
And now the day draws on of my defeat.
I shall not meet
The swift, male glance across the crowded room,
Where the chance contact of limbs in passing tus
Its answer in some future fierce embrace.
I shall sit there in the corners looking on
With the older women, withered or overblown,
Who have grown old more graciously than I,
In a sort of safe and comfortable tomb
Knitting myself into Eternity.
And men will talk to me because they are kind,
Or as cunning or as courtesy demands ;
There will be no hidden question in their eyes
And no subtle implication in their hands,
And I shall be so grateful who have been
So gracious and so tyrannous, moving between
Denial and surrender. To-morrow I shall find
How women live who have no lovers and no answer for
life's grey monotonies.
MRS. EFFINGHAM'S SWAN SONG
Upon my table will be no more flowers . . .
They will bring me no more flowers till I am dead ;
There will be no violent, sweet, exciting hours,
No wild things done nor said.
— No master is more bitter to offend,
No tyranny more dreadful to obey,
Than Beauty's terrible bondage. Happy they
Whom she brings not in anguish to the end
Of her old, magnificent way.
Yet sometimes I'm so tire4 of it all —
This everlasting battle with the flesh,
— This pitiful slavery to the body's thrall —
And then I do not want to lure nor charm ;
I want to wear
Soft, easy things, be comfortable and warm ;
I want to drowse at leisure in my chair.
I do not want to wear a veil with heavy mesh,
Nor sit in shaded rooms afraid to face the light;
I do not want to go out every night,
And be bright and vivid and intense,
Nor be on the alert and the defence
With other women, fierce and afraid as I,
Drawing a knife unseen as each goes by.
I am so tired of men and making love,
For every one's the same.
There's nothing new in love beneath the sun . . .
All love can say or do has long been said and done :
I have eaten the fruit of knowledge long enough,
Been over-kissed, and over-praised and over-won.
Why should I try to play still the old, foolish game?
Because I have played the rose's part too long.
Who plays the rose must pay the rose's price,
And be a rose or nothing till it dies.
And even then sometimes the blood will answer fierce and
To the old hunger, — to the old dance, old tune;
I shall feel cruel and passionate and mad
Though I have lost the look of June.
The fever of the past will burn my hands
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
As men who live long in intemperate lands
Feel the old ague wring them, far removed
From the lost, cruel glitter of seas and sands . . .
The rose dies hard in women who have had
Lovers all their lives, and have been much loved.
I am afraid to grow old now even if I would.
I have fought too long, too well, and what was once
A foolish trick to make the rose more strangely gay
Is now a close-locked, mortal conflict of brain and blood —
A feud too old to settle or renounce.
I shall grow too tired to struggle, and the fight will end,
And they will enter in at last —
Nature and Time, long thwarted of their prey, —
Those old grey two, more cruel for the lips that said them
For the bitterest foe is he who in the past
Has been repulsed when he would fain be friend.
I am sorry for women who are growing old,
I do not blame them holding youth with shameful hold,
Nor doing desperate things to lips and eyes.
They have so pitifully short a flowering time,
So suddenly sweet a story so soon told.
They only strive to keep what men have taught them most
to prize —
Men who have longer, fuller lives to live,
Who are not stopped and broken in their prime,
With their faces still to summer. Men d^ not know
What Age says to a woman. They would not wait
To feel sljp from their hands without a throe,
Without a struggle, futile and desperate,
Doomed, without hope or rumour of reprieve,
All that has given them wealth and love and power.
They would not smile into the eyes of that advancing hour,
(Who had bent all summer to their bow, and had flung
The widest rose and kissed the keenest mouth
And slept in the lordliest bed when they were young,)
That bitter twilight which sun-following Youth
Flies headlong while Age loiters on the hill,
Uneager to fold such greyness to his breast,
WHILE WAITING IN YOUR ROOM
Knowing that none will thwart him of his will,
None be before him on that quest.
I am growing old.
I was not always kind when I was young
To women who were old, for Youth is blind —
A small, green, bitter thing beneath its fragrant rind,
And fanged against the old with boisterous tongue —
Those whose poor, morning heads are touched with rime,
Walking before their misery like kings,
In exile from their green and growing time.
I did not think that I should feel such stings,
Nor flinch beneath such arrows . . . But now I know.
One day I shall be stupid and rather slow,
And easily cowed and troubled in my mind,
And tremulous, vaguely frightened, feeble and cold.
I am growing old . . . My God, how old ! how old ! .
I dare not tell them, but one day they will know . . .
I hope they will be kind.
While Waiting in Your Room
By Joan Bevan
Each time you enter, goes my heart to meet you,
Though I stand still and look quite commonplace.
And silent, long with fevered words to greet you
While secretly I search your shadowed face . . .
To see if there's a gleam of more than kindness
Or if indifference only wins the race ;
Or cruelty, another form of blindness,
Hides all the mocking beauty of your face.
When will there be an answer to my pleading?
Will your eyes mate with mine a breathing space
And drowned in deepest depths will they be reading
Their utter satisfaction on your face ?
By Vladimir Nabokoff
Like silent ships we two in darkness met,
And when some day the poet's careless fame
Shall breathe to you a half-forgotten name —
Soul of my song, I want you to regret.
For you had Love. Out of my life you tore
One shining page. I want, if we must part,
Remembrance pale to quiver in your heart
Like moonlit foam upon a windy shore.
When the Thorn Blows
By Mary Webb
Dawn glimmers white beyond the burning hill
Where sunbeams light a fire in every tree.
The morning bird is singing clear and shrill ;
And oh, my love ! when will you come to me ?
The daisies whitely sleep beneath the dew ;
On the wet road the stones are fair to see ;
Cloudy, the blackthorn floats upon the blue;
And oh, my love ! when will you come to me ?
The wind came walking in the shaken wood ;
He shouted from the mountains and the sea.
By the pale thorn he paused, in lover's mood —
And oh, my love ! when will you come to me ?
My heart has blossomed meekly as the thorn ;
It has its dews, and daisies two or three.
The heavens quicken, green as April corn —
And oh, my love ! when will you come to me ?
(To the Lord God)
By F. Hamilton
Behind me is the garden and your face.
Shame might have hid me. I could bid disgrace
Banish my soul unto jome distant place,
Be witch thereof, and in its shades construe
Some liane, epiphyte, that might rid you,
Sow seed, with each heart-patter, drop and drop,
Careless but they fell slow to — insure the crop.
That is my dream, indulgence, one perfume,
To dig the trench about your feet. One bloom —
To see you rid — I cherish for my tomb.
How should you tell, when my hand grasps your hands,
And bends your knees as boughs with the winds bands,
I wist but of some flower within your hair
One day to be. These sweating hands nowhere.
Let be. A gardener thou needest not.
Then why keep me? One thing, thy love cannot,
Is left for me to do. You had forgot.
'Twere sweet to do, intoxicating sweet,
If drinking should rid you, drain from yorr feet
All poison. God, what? Damn me. What if sap —
One drop — should, thereby, trickle from your lap ?
Rather than that, there keep me, hold me there,
Burning my back with kisses. Truth it were,
That, horrible, yet not as thine impair.
Do what is best for thee. — Ha ! ha ! You see,
You cannot damn me. Seeing that must be
I cannot be cast down. Neither can I,
For the elation of thy living, die.
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
So, you would make of me, a monument,
Never to be wiped out, and never rent,
And all this, just because I do repent. —
If I did not, you might grow free — (Ah ! say
Were't thou not much more fair a thing, that way ?)
I reap. — That forfeited? — Then lest I might,
Rivet the chain that keeps me in thy sight.
But, of that tree of knowledge — Know this, God.
What fruit of knowledge were there but the pod
Concealed a way of treading where God trod?
So did I think, so pondered, and so said,
When the yet unproved thing had not yet bled.
So said. So say. There, damn me, God, again.
I tasted, I know, wisdom, in its chain.
I know the good and evil ? As I live,
I'd yield no little anguish, through a sieve,
To lose this " what is what," " what for," you give. —
I willed to know, lay hands on all that stood
Between us, I might see, for bad or good,
What would remain, of all things, still unshaken,
What thing would fall, and what thing might be taken.
And I know now what did befall. But thee,
Now I shall never know, shall never see. —
What ! Wished I thee presented unto me ?
Nay, I'd not aught of thee, taken at gift.
But be thou whole. Damn me. I'd even lift
This hand unto the tree of life, to throw
One grain of spice, to make thy savour grow.
Thus to Revisit* . . . (iv
By Ford Madox Hueffer
The Battle of the Poets.
I.— ("Golly/ What a Paper!")
I ask to be taken as writing the pages that follow with
some diffidence. When it is a matter of prose I know what
I want ; I know what I want to say ; and I know that I can
say what I want to say with some exactness. Prose is for
me an instrument — like a tool of precision. But the
moment I come to want to write about verse I feel — pos-
sibly doubts, possibly misgivings; certainly some of the
diffidence of the novice. For I suppose that until lately I
had not devoted to the problem of verse any of the close and
sedulous thought that gives a man a real right to demand
to be listened to. I began to think about verse desultorily
about 1912; it was not until 1915 or 1916, during the en-
forced waitings of a life sometimes of rather frenzied action,
that I devoted really the whole of my aesthetic mind to the
practical side of verse-writing. I made, that is to say, a
great number of metrical experiments of my own and
thought constantly of the metrical devices that had been
adopted by the writers of works that had given me that
high, fine pleasure that poems alone can give. And, since
that troubled time, I have continued in the same habits.
I should like to make a confession of faith : I believe the
conception — and if possible the writing — of poetry to be the
only pursuit worthy of a serious man, unless the vicissi-
tudes of his time call on him to be also a soldier. I have
always held this belief ; I have never changed in it ; I trust
* Copyright in U.S.A. by the Dial Co., 13th St., New York.
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
that I never shall. I do not mean to say that there are no
other pursuits, professions, callings or avocations that
Destiny may not force upon a proper man and he endure
them with dignity, honour and an unbent head . . . But
even then, if he does not follow them in the spirit of a poet
— and with the self-sacrifice of a soldier — he is not a proper
man and I hope I may never have to know him.
But, until the earlier date that I have given above,
although I never faltered in this belief, the only writings,
at any rate of my own day, that I could call poetry had been
in the form of prose, not of verse. When — so very occa-
sionally ! — in some of the writings of the Poet Laureate, of
Mr. Walter Delamare, of Christina Rossetti, of Robert
Browning, I came across passages that stirred me with an
unmistakable call, it was the prose quality of those pas-
sages, not the metrical values, to which I attached im-
portance. It was the beauty of the wording; it was the
beauty of the image evoked by the contact of simple words
one beside the other.
Of that earlier time I remember images called up by
two living poets. The one rendered distant ships, like
silver-points on a grey horizon: that was Mr. Delamare;
the other made visible the depths of still fresh water, beside
the piles of a boating stage — on the Thames, I should say.
That was in a poem by Mr. Robert Bridges. I do not
mean to say that I cannot remember other passages of these
two poets; I can. I believe I could recite several poems
by each of them, with possibly a verbal error here and there.
And just, as far as I am concerned, as it is with these
two living poetsyso it is with the two dead ones. Christina
Rossetti was an infinitely great master of words, but the
emotions her work always gave me were those of reading
prose — and so it was with Browning ... I have seldom
received a greater stirring of enthusiasm than on the day
when — quite late in life — I first came upon the words, at
the end of the first paragraph of the " Flight of the
Duchess . . ." :
And all this is our Duke's Country !
And that is certainly a prose effect and a prose rhythm.
But isn't it glorious? ... So that, only the other day, I
surprised myself by saying to Mr. Pound, the words coming
out from some subconscious depths where I did not know
THUS TO REVISIT . . .
that the opinion lay : " After all — the only English poet
that matters twopence is Browning ! " I don't know what
Mr. Pound answered; I verv seldom do know what Mr."
Pound answers; but he neither knocked me down nor
screamed, so that I daresay he was substantially in agree-
ment with myself . . .
I will try to make clear how this progression of effect has
taken place in my thoughts. I was unconscious that it had
taken place, as I have said ; but the idea having, as it were,
reported itself for duty, I can trace its genesis. I trust I
may be allowed to repeat myself — I mean to repeat ideas
that I have already put into print. I never came across any
trace that any human soul had ever read any of my former
critical writings; by certain reverberations I can now tell
"that I have some readers, so I will again make the state-
ment that for a great number of years I could not read
"poetry." I wanted to; but I could not. I used to put
that down to the fact that rhymes, accents, stresses, asson-
ances, alliterations, vowel colourings, and the other devices
of poets, embarrassed me as a reader. But this was not the
case . . . The real fact is that — the dog it was that died.
I have discovered this for myself from my own practice
in verse. I found that as soon as I came to write a poem "
I automatically reduced my intelligence to the level of one
nearly imbecile. And, looking one day through the Col-
lected Edition of my own poems that some misguided pub-
lisher issued some years aeo and that no soul appeared to
purchase or read — looking them through again, then, I was
appalled to observe that in the whole affair there were not
twenty lines that, had I been writing prose, I should not
have suppressed . . . Everything; every single group of
words was what in French is called charge ... It was not
so much that the stuff was rhetorical; it had not the mar-
moreal quality of true rhetoric — the kind that one finds
on tombstones, It was just silly— with the silliness of a
child of a bad type.
Heaven knows I cannot read my own prose with any-
thing but mortification — but it is a mortification proceeding
rather from the eternal sense of failure that every conscious
artist must feel all his life unless he has a good bottle of
wine beneath his waistcoat . . . One has had ideals and has
fallen short. That is gloomy enough. But when I read
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
mv own verse I know that I have tried to write like a
brandined sentimentalist. And I have succeeded every
time . . .
N w, why is this ? I can assure the reader that alco-
holism has very little to do with it. And I think I can
the answer. It is simply that every poet — until lately
: v poet — the moment he takes pen in hand in order to
write, say, a sonnet or a triolet or decasyllabics, rhymed or
unrhymed, at once begins to " write down." This was the
e originally, simply because rhyme and metre were diffi-
cult things and an indulgent, primitive Public made allow-
ances. Nowadays the writing down has become a habit, a
fashion, a necessity — and a less primitive, less indulgent
public can no longer be got to listen to Verse at all. At
any rate, there is hardly a poet of to-day or yesterday
who ever, in his matter, his ideas and his verbal texture,
attempts to soar above the level of the intellect of scarcely
adolescent pupils in young ladies' seminaries — hardly ever
a poet who. in his attempts to render a higher type
of mentality than that to be found in a Grimm's F airy Tale
... Or it might be more just to say Hans Andersen; for.
as far as I can remember. Andersen was more of a snob
Poets in fact, once they put on their laurel crowns.
st thenv jf every* shred of humour, irony, or in-
nowledge of life as it is lived. I can hardly think
of anv save Heinrich Heine. Browning — and sometimes
stina R — who were born since 1790 and did not
consider vcia e- wi tting as something aloof from life. art.
form and language. I will put the matter as a parable :
the facts that follow are not exactlv what happened. One
must slightl] bscure fa * : when one is writing of one's
contemporaries. But the truth of this parable to the Spirit
of the Age is irrefutable.
There are in the City of London, then, two
eminent Ut1erattu r s . . . Let us call them Mess
X and Y. Both are men of brains, humour, and
of a sufficient adroitness to have made for the:- ~
comfortable careers — this last being- no ~nd one
which must have made them acquainted with a considerable
surface of such life as is lived in what Henry James used
to call the has fonds of journalism ... A pretty mean
life . . But, in an evil hour, each of these eentlemen con-
THUS TO REVISIT . .
ceived the idea of writing Verse on a large scale. One —
Mr. X. — produced a play in rhyme — a play of singular
imbecility. Mr. Y. replied with a slice of an epic based
on ideas that must have been Joe Millerisms to Macaulay's
— or w r as it Mrs. Barbauld's? — New Zealander.
Each was a Reviewer ! Mr. Y. reviewed his colleague's
verse drama, writing a sort of paraphrase of Sheridan's
Critic — the Spanish Fleet Mr. X.'s heroine could not have
seen because it was not yet in sight, and so on. Mr. X.
reviewed the instalment of the epic, in the style of
Macaulay's review of Satan Montgomery. He pointed out
that it is contrary to natural principles to write
Thus to its goal the aspiring soul doth mount
As streams meander level with their fount,
or words to that effect. We were, in fact, presented with
the inspiring spectacle of a controversy in the good old
style of The Edinburgh versus The Quarterly Reviews.
That, of course, is nothing. Someone in England is always
trying to drag literature tack to those days and that tone.
The point was that Mr. X. concluded his review by saying
that, though he had. regretfully, pointed out some of the
innumerable absurdities contained in Mr. Y.'s epic, never-
theless Mr. Y. was to be congratulated on revealing his real
personality in his work — an exhibition of courage rare in the
poets of to-day; Mr. Y.. at the end of his review, stated that
though he had regretfully pointed out some of the innu-
merable imbecilities contained in his confrere's poetic
drama, Mr. X. was to be congratulated on his rare courage
in revealing his true personality in his poem . . . And,
since each gentleman had called the other's work a product
of an imbecile mind, that was hitting below the belt !
As I read the portents of our moonlit heavens, these
two — quite imaginary — gentlemen will be united on one
point — they desire to drive out of Literature Mr. Pound.
Mr. Flint, and most of mv favourite poets. And I beg the
reader to believe that nothing would have dragged me back
into the Literarv Life from which I had taken a quite sincere
farewell but the desire to prevent this infamy and this
disaster. I should like to be taken as being entirely sin-
cere in making this statement, and I should like to say that
I have written the last three words, advisedly, after due
thought and selecting exactly the words that express mv
meaning . . .
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
I concluded the first part of this series of articles by
lightly, and, I trust, good-humouredly, grazing the subject
of Les Jeunes, who were quite young in the Season of 19 14.
I fancy the frame of mind of myself and the others who
welcomed these then eccentric creatures was one of gentle
bewilderment as to their products combined with
an absolute confidence in the genius of the various
young men whom we backed. I may point out that
I come of a family that, for generations, has impoverished
itself in combating Academicism and in trying to help —
geniuses ... So I may claim to have in the blood the
tic of combating Academicism and the hope of discovering
genius — and, I trust, the faculty of absolute indifference
to my personal fate or the fate of my own work.
Thus I profess to a certain inherited flair for — and a
certain sense that it is a duty to forward — the recognition
of young men with, to change the idiom, individualities,
practising one or other of the arts. And towards the end
of Marwood's and my career in control of the English
Review, he and I and the few friends who were interested
in a real revival of Literature began to feel that life was
worth living . . . There appeared on the scene — I place
them in the order of their appearance, as far as I can re-
member — Mr. Pound, Mr. D. H. Lawrence, Mr. Tomlin-
son, Mr. Norman Douglas, Mr. Lewis, " H.D.," Mr. Flint
— and afterwards some Americans — Mr. Frost, Mr. T. S.
Eliot, Mr. Edgar Lee Masters. And of course there were
Gaudier Brzeska and Mr. Epstein. It was — truly — like
an opening world . . .
It was like an opening world . . . For, if you have
worried your poor dear old brain for at least a quarter of a
century over the hopelessness of finding, in Anglo-Saxon-
dom, any traces of the operation of a conscious art — it was
amazing to find these young creatures not only evolving
theories of writing and the plastic arts, but receiving in
addition an immense amount of what is called " public sup-
port " ... I do not think I am exaggerating when I say
that, at any rate for the London Season of 19 14, these
young fellows not only drove the old — oh, the horribly
wearisome ! — Academics out of the field, the market, and
THUS TO REVISIT . . .
the forum; they created for themselves also a " public" that
had never looked at a book otherwise than to be bored
with it ; or considered the idea that an Art was an interesting,
inspiring, or amusing appearance. That was extra-
ordinarily valuable. And I believe that their influence at
that date extended across the Atlantic itself and that there
it still obtains.
We Anglo-Saxons are the mock of the world; there is
no nation that does not despise us for our commercial ideals,
our incredible foreign politics — and the complete absence
of any art as a national characteristic . . . The Dutch
have their painters; the Flemings have their down-to-the-
ground poets of mysticism; the Germans have their
Romantic music ; their Grimmish lyrics. The French have
everything. The Siamese have their beautiful pots; the
Russians — again, possibly everything. The Poles have
immense rhetorical gifts; the Zulus their folk song; the
Irish their Historic Sense, which is an art too. We have
nothing, and there is no race in the world that does not
point the finger of scorn at us.
That is the lamentable fact. But in 19 14 Les Jeunes
had succeeded in interesting a usually unmoved but very
large section of the public — and had forced that public to
take an interest not in the stuff but the methods of an Art.
The Cubists, Vorticists, and the others proclaimed that the
plastic arts must be non-representational; the Imagistes,
Symbolistes, who joined up, I think, with Vorticism, pro-
claimed the immense importance of the " live " word — the
word that should strike you as the end of a live wire will,
if you touch it. Actually, I fancy that the main point of
their sympathy and contact was their desire to impress on
the world their own images. Or, let us put it that the
first point of their doctrine would be that the artist should
express by his work his own personality.
Let us consider this canon with some seriousness.
The Impressionists — and it was the Impressionists that
the Vorticists, Cubists, Imagistes, and the rest were seeking
to wipe out — the Impressionists in the plastic or written arts
had been the leaders of the Movement that came imme-
diately before these young fellows. And the main canon
of the doctrine of Impressionism had been this : The artist
must aim at the absolute suppression of himself in his ren-
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
dering of his Subject. You were to see as little as possible
of the image of M. Courbet in a Courbet; you were to see
nothing at all of Flaubert when you read " Trois Contes."
To look at a painting of willow trees under a grey sky; to
read Cceur Simple or Le Rouge et le Noir, What
Maisie Knew or Fathers and Children^ was merely to
live in the lives and the minds of Felicite, Mrs. Wicks,
whose constant dread was that she might be " spoken to," or
of Lavretsky . . . Above all the reader was to receive no
idea of the figures of Stendhal or his followers . . . For
Impressionism begins with Henri Beyle who wrote as
Let me — since even the first commandment of Impres-
sionism is probably unfamiliar to the Anglo-Saxon reader
— repeat this formula in another image. That is bad Art ;
but I hope to be pardoned by the shades of my Masters. Is
the Reader, then, conversant with the Theory of Podmore's
Brother? . . . Podmore's Brother was accustomed to
perform certain tricks on members of the public whilst so
holding their attentions that they were quite unconscious
of his actions. He talked so brilliantly that whilst his
tongue moved his hands attracted no attention. It is not
a very difficult trick to perform ... If the Reader will give
a box of matches to a friend and then begin to talk really
enthrallingly, he will be able to take the box of
matches from his friend's hands without his friend
being in the least conscious that the matches have
gone. Closing his discourse, he will be able to say
to his friend : " Where are the matches ? " — and the
friend will not have any idea of their whereabouts ... It
is a trick worth performing — the tongue deceiving the
It is a trick worth performing — because it is the Trick
of Impressionism — the Impressionist writer or painter tell-
ing his story with such impressiveness that the Reader or
the Observer will forget that the Impressionist is using pen
or brush; just as your supposititious Friend, lost in
your conversation, forgets that you take the matches from
his hands . . .
The Cubists, Vorticists, Imagistes, Vers Libristes, who
in 1914 seemed about to wash out us Impressionists, said
simply: "All this attempt to hypnotise the Public is mere
THUS TO REVISIT . . .
waste of time. An Artist attracts ; gets a Public or royalties
from sales because he is a clever fellow. Let him begin by
saying : ' I am a clever fellow . . . ' And let him go on
saying: 'What a fellow I am ! ' Conspuez the Subject!
A bas all conventions of tale-telling ! We, the Vorticists,
Cubists, Imagistes, Symbolists, Vers Libristes, Tapagistes
are the fine, young Cocks of the Walk ! We and we only
are the Playboys of the Western World. We and we only
shall be heard "... They came very near it.
I remember well a walk I took once with one of my
young geniuses on one side of me and Mr. Pound on the
other ... Of what Mr. Pound talked, I have no idea.
He was expressing himself, in low tones, in some Trans-
atlantic dialect. This Genius, however, was plain to hear.
" What is the sense," he said, " of all this ' justification '
of a subject that Maupassant and you and Conrad indulge
in . . . You try to trick the reader into believing that he
is hearing true stories . . , But you can't . . . Maupas-
sant takes three hundred words out of a two-thousand-
word conte to describe a dinner party with a doctor at it
. . . And the doctor tells a story ... Or Conrad takes
twenty thousand words out of an immense novel to describe
a public-house on the river at Greenwich ... In order
to ' justifier' his story ... It is a waste of time . . .
What the public wants is Me . . . Because I am not an
imbecile, like the component members of the public ! . . ."
I daresay he was right ... At any rate our Public
took Mr. Lewis and " Blast " ; Signor Marinetti and his
immense noises, his lungs of brass; Mr. Epstein and his
Rock Drill, with great seriousness and unparalleled avidity
. . . And I was so much a member of the Public that I
determined — very willingly, for I always detested writing
— to shut up shop. I said to myself : " I will write one
more book ! " — a book I had been hatching for twelve
years. "And then no more at all!" . . . So the Vorti-
cists and the others proceeded on their clamorous ways
. . . They abolished not only the Illusion of the Subject,
but the Subject itself . . . They gave you dashes and
whirls of pure colour; words washed down till they were
just Mr. Pound's
Petals on a wet black bough !
Signor Marinetti shouted incredibly in the Dore Gal-
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
lery, and a sanguinary war was declared at the Cafe Royal
between those youths who wore trousers of green billiard
cloth and whiskers and those who did not . . . The Cabaret
Club was raided by the Police, and found to be full of the
wives and aged mothers of Cabinet Ministers . . . The
Academic writers of the Literary Journal, with their in-
credibly dull snufflings about the placket-holes of Shelley's
mistresses, paled till they had the aspect of the posters of
yesterday on the walls of the year before last ...
Alas! that was in 1914 . . . To-day they are all back
again in the saddle and the gobbling noises about the
tuberculous lungs of Keats, — a beautiful user of words
who, had Destiny not been as remorseless to his poor shade
as in life she was to his racked body, would have escaped
the attention of these stamp collectors — the gobbling noises
about the lungs of Keats, the immense, long articles about
the orthography of Shakespeare's Fourth Folios, the
voluminous disquisitions on the poetasters from whom Scott
derived his chapter headings — all these incredibly unin-
teresting matters have once more killed the interest of the
Public in the Arts . . . For what, to the Public, is Fanny
I will put the matter in another parable, the facts being
this time true . . .
The wife of my headmaster once said to me — I was
revisiting my school, and she was looking at a Literary
Journal that I had brought down — once said, looking
musingly over the top of the paper :
" ' Love letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne, edited
by Buxton Forman.' " She was reading the title of a
review. And she went on to ask : " Who was Keats ? "-
I said :
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever . . .
And immediately she continued :
Its loveliness increasethfit shall'never
Pass into nothingness . . f
It was not, that is to say, that the lady was closed to or
ignorant of the beauty of Keats — it was simply that the
Literary Journal was so intolerably wearisome that she
knew nothing of the sort of ana that . . . But perhaps I am
saying too much.
(To be continued?)
By Robert Briffault
Most of us can look back upon another world — that
remote world which in the pigeon-holes of history is
labelled Victorian. It was the air of that world which all
but the youngest of us first drew into our spiritual lungs,
it was by its light, or at least by the afterglow of it, that we
first contemplated the wonders and the mysteries And
what fresh enthusiasms, what thrills of revelation fired our
souls ! What a new era was the day when we first dis-
covered Darwin ! What new vision was opened to us by
Sartor, by Ruskin ! We were heavy with new thought as
we rose from reading Spencer; Tyndall's Belfast address
was an epoch in spiritual history, and we constructed views
of " the relation between Mind and Matter. 5 ' Our
interest was aroused by the controversy between
Huxley and Gladstone concerning the Gadarene swine.
We learnt Locksley Hall and In Memoriam by
heart, till the syncopated tempo of Browning's toc-
catas hushed the Tennysonian music to faintness.
Liberalism, Democracy were ideals to conjure with;
and the most wicked of us went the length — horribile
dictu — of pasturing on the Fabian Essays. The discovery
in art of Tintoretto and of the Primitives made us irate with
our schoolmasters who had informed us that Raffael was a
great painter. We thought no little of our privilege of
exploring expanding horizons. We were the young ones
marching to brave music with the vanguard companies into
new worlds unsuspected by our fathers . . .
Heavens ! What a gulf, what an abyss, between ! Can
it really be that that was our world, that back-parlour of a
world from which we now blow the dust with archaeological
curiosity? It is not different in form, colour and fashion
merely from the world in which our thoughts move to-day ;
it is another universe compounded of different substances,
of different ultimate principles and categories, To realise,
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
to enter into the spirit and point of view of that Victorian
world, puts a strain on our imagination as it would to stop
down our vision to the outlook of a pre-Copernican or a
In the material of our thought, in our knowledge, there
has been since no second Darwinian revolution; the
changes have been cumulative, though the cumulation
amounts in some quarters to a revolution. What has hap-
pened is in reality much more momentous : the effects of
Victorian, of nineteenth-century, science have spread from
" nature," from the peculiar domain of that science which
was called " natural " — in opposition to I know not what
" unnatural " science — and which was therefore essentially
distinct, remote, aloof from the general thought of thinking
men, human thought dealing with human interests and
issues, — the effects and spirit of science have overflowed
and spread to that sphere of the thinker's thought, to Man,
to Man's world. The new sciences which have sprung up
are sciences of human things, anthropology in all its many
branches, folk-lore, economics, and that general scientific
thought concerning human society, its mechanism and in-
stitutions, which is afflicted with the barbaric name of
" sociology." Science which arose as a world apart,
separated from the general fields of human thought, and
which in the flush of its triumph had in the nineteenth
century set up its complete world-edifice without consulta-
tion and with somewhat hasty victorious finality, has now
penetrated, and been in turn penetrated by, the thought of
the thinker on human issues. Both have been transformed.
The world-edifice has grown mellower and maturer; but it
is above all the general human thought, our thought, that
has became transmuted. And not in its materials, in its
knowledge alone; the standards, the values, the counters
themselves of the mind, are those of another currency.
Changes which in turn have completely metamorphosed the
import of our experience, altering the meaning of its daily
contribution. So that between us and that Victorian world
in the atmosphere of which we were born there is no longer
any common measure. We are men of another world.
And it is that which gives the real sense of growth, of
progress. Not your aeroplanes, and mechanical toys and
devices ; but the sight of a new world, perceived through
other organs of knowledge, spelling new meanings, and
giving us a new sense of direction. That is progress.
Anyone is, of course, at liberty to quiz us with the question,
" How do you know that your new vision, though other than
the old, is better? " A foolish question. It is not the fact
that one phase of growth is " better " than the foregoing
which constitutes it a progress; it is the fact that
it . is a progress which constitutes it " better."- The
values " better," " higher" are the expression, not the justi-
fication, of the fact of growth; it is the evolution which
creates the value, which creates all values, not the values
which justify the evolution. The knowledge of superiority
is the direct judgment of evolving Life pronounced within
us as the inconceivability of going back, of reversing the
direction of the Life-force.
We do not despise the Victorians, or the Jacobeans, or,
for that matter, the poor savages who accomplished greater
things when they domesticated fire or went to sea in a tree-
trunk than, probably, we thinkers shall ever accomplish.
No feeling of contempt colours our retrospect; on the con-
trary, it is with a very lively feeling of reverence and
veneration that we look upon the past generations that have
raised us to our point of vantage. But it is precisely
because of our sense of the superiority of our outlook that
we reverence the men who have made it possible to surpass
theirs. It is our truth, not necessarily our strength, that
has grown. Where they were clear and confident we may
be vague and hesitating, we falter where they firmly trod ;
but our faltering is for all that a step forward, beyond, and
above their confidence. Our path in any case, the path
of Life is irretraceable ; the worlds that we have left behind
can never again come back to being. Between them and
ours there is no common measure. We have passed for
ever into other worlds.
VT 7v flP *7f flP TT
" We " ? Who are " we " ? Of whom am I speaking ?
Of the men of to-day? But we are but an infinitesimal,
almost negligible number among the men of to-day. We
quietly talk archaeologically about those ancient inhabitants
of Britain, the Victorians, and, as a matter of fact, there
are a hundred thousand Victorians, young and old, living
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
to-day for one man of the present day, for one of us. We
recall ancient memories of Darwinian days, and only the
other day a good, well-meaning Canon Barnes caused a
flutter by heroically suggesting that evolution should be
" admitted " ! Victorians ! Why, the world of to-day would
be a " live wire " indeed were no men to be found in it more
antique than the Victorians. It is with pre-Victorian, with
pre-Jacobean, nay, with pre-Glacial men that it is over-
whelmingly peopled. The vast, overpowering majority of
human beings, of those even who are called the " cultured,"
who talk articulately, perorate, write, are pre-Darwinians,
pre-Frazerians, pre-Nietzscheans, — pre-diluvians. We?
We, the men of to-day, are one in two millions; we are a
mere handful, a contemptible little army; or, rather, a
small scattered rabble. We are a minority so negligible
that it would appal us to compute it by a count of heads.
We speak of our thoughts, of our ideas, of our values, as
the thoughts, the ideas, the values of to-day, but they are
but an infinitesimal sprinkling in the midst of the multitude
of surviving fossil thought.
Social growth does not take place as a whole, but at a
growing-point only of negligible dimensions; while at any
moment the whole represents the stratified deposits of all
If only people would realise the simple and uncontro-
vertible fact that what we call the mind of man is a social
product they would have grasped three-fourths of
psychology and of social science. The fact is a truism
which should be beyond the need of discussion. We think
by means of ideas, concepts, as they are technically called,
and not a concept can our mind seize hold of except by
means of the instrument called a word. And words are
socially transmitted products. Man is born a dumb
animal ; words, and all that words carry with them, that is,
the contents of the human mind, are poured into human
beings as into so many empty bottles, by the social environ-
ment. To ignore serenely and utterly that momentous,
truistic fact is a postulate of the bulk of the current thought
and talk of professed thinkers and of vulgar ignorance
alike. People talk of " race," " individuality," " tempera-
ment," and mental endowments when discussing the
mentality of human beings, entirely setting aside the fact
that that mentality is not the individual product of their
minds, but of human history, of social evolution, and of
the circumstances which have transmitted to them the pro-
ducts of that history and evolution. Men differ; they are
men of to-day, Victorians, Jacobeans, Mediaevals, or Tro-
glodytes; the present population of the world and of any
civilised community belongs to widely different epochs and
phases of evolution. That is the real " inequality," the
only real inequality. But that inequality is not at all an
outcome of " race " or of any anthropological or psycho-
logical conditions, but in the fullest sense of the word an
artificial product of social conditions. Into some of the
empty bottles the social organism pours a Victorian mind,
into others a pre-Victorian mind, into others a mind from
the Dark Ages of barbaric Europe; into others it pours
scarcely any mind at all, but the dim mentality of the
It is that inequality, of course, which gives rise to the
fundamental paralogism of Democracy. The highest ex-
pression of the evolutionary forces is represented by an
infinitesimal minority, and the count of heads secures the
total submersion of that minority under the overwhelming
preponderance of the unevolved majority. That is
obvious. But that obvious reasoning overlooks one funda-
mental circumstance of the situation, and thereby misleads
many of us into a fallacy. What the democratic tendency
supplants, or tends to supplant, is not the rule of the evo-
lutionary minority, but of quite another minority, that of the
conservators tof established power — not an evolutionary
minority at all, but the most powerfully armed and the most
obdurate reactionary and anti-revolutionary minority.
Democracy, the count: of heads, does not, it is true, sub-
stitute the infinitesimal evolutionary minority for the
powerfully armed reactionary minority. But it does tend
in fact to weaken the latter and to strengthen the former.
That it weakens the latter is manifest if from nothing else
than its instinctive detestation of Democracy. That it
strengthens the evolutionary minority is a consequence of
the fact that the general direction of that minority's ten-
dencies must necessarily coincide, at least roughly, with
that of the lowest and numerically largest strata, of the pro-
letariat, of the workers, of the instruments of established
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
power. The rebellious proletarians — their mental activity
necessarily means rebellion — are, from the nature of the
situation, evolutionary. For two reasons. First because
they are rebels, and all rebellion against established power
is evolutionary, and conversely all evolution is rebellion;
secondly, they are by virtue of their situation immune from
the authority of the falsified values of the power-holders'
tradition. Thus it is that the proletariat, the opposite cul-
tural extreme to the aristocracy of thought, is its natural
ally. However unsatisfactory and distressing direct inter-
course between the two extremes may be, however limited,
" coarse," artless the mentality of the proletariat,
the general direction of their outlook and aims is, owing to
their immunity from the crippling effect of power-thought
and to the logic of their situation, in much closer harmony
with that of the aristocracy of thought than that of the cul-
tured established power. Superficial intercourse with a
cultured Church dignitary, say, is far more harmonious,
pleasant and congenial to us than intercourse with the
roughly articulate proletarian ; but in general orientation of
thought it is with the latter that we shall coincide, while we
shall be toto coelo at variance with the former. The " cul-
ture," the " education " supplied by established power in
public school, university, and the literature of established
power, cut both ways. By giving access to the materials
of thought they incidentally furnish the instruments of evo-
lution, but it is quite against their intention that they do so.
Their object is to pour into the empty bottles every falsi-
fication and deformation that human thought has suffered at
the hands of power, and to guard against the evolutionary
use of the materials of thought. And it is the most con-
crete demonstration of the magnitude and fundamental
character of those falsifications that, in the result, the
" ignorant," " uncultured " proletarian is, thanks to his
immunity from them, in a better position to think in terms
of living and evolutionary thought than the most highly
polished product of transmitted culture.
We are therefore in general democratic, however invalid
to us the principle of democracy, however much at variance
we may be with many of the aspects of democracy. By a
curious but very natural paradox, the anti-evolutionary
minority is also democratic ; it is for the " principles " of
democracy that it very loudly clamours, that is, for " the
rights of minorities," that is, its "rights"; just as the sur-
viving mediaeval inquisitors and religious persecutors
righteously call for " toleration " in days when they them-
selves are in need of " toleration."
But we, we to whom Victorians, Mediaevals, Troglo-
dytes are essentially fossil, though not extinct, forms of
human evolution, what are we ?
We know one another at the first words in any inter-
change of thought, we know one another for kindred, for
men of to-day. By an infallible freemasonry we seize at
once in a man, in an article, in a book the sharp, unmis-
takable distinction ; a man either belongs to the aristocracy
of living thought or to the phantom multitude of the sur-
viving Past; he is either one of us or he is essentially
against us. In our views, in our judgments, in our
estimates, we may differ widely and profoundly. It is not
the colour of our opinions in philosophy, in science, in
politics that makes us kin, that makes us living men of
to-day. We may differ about that which is close to our
hearts, about that which we deem fundamental and essen-
tial; we may diverge in diametrically opposite directions
from our starting-points. But we nevertheless know and
feel ourselves to belong to the same kindred of the mind,
to be of a different world, of a different phase of evolution
from the multitude of pseudo-living survivals. Wherein
does that subtle kinship consist? Every distinction,
however subtle, that is real is susceptible of definite appre-
hension. The mark by which we recognise one another is
that our values, our judgments, our outlooks, are genuinely
our own ; they are living, growing realities, not bequeathed
ancestral mummies moving with a simulated animation.
They are not the mentality which the social environment
has poured into us, but the products of our own thought.
We recognise one another by our common repudiation of
values and standards, which the social environment desires
us to accept on its authority alone. We decline to be
passive recipients of the mentality it pours into us; we
demand to see the title-deeds of the thought which we
admit into our minds, we repudiate all privilege and exact
validity, we discard all tabus and all sanctities. That is
wherein we all agree, wherein we are manifest to one
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
another as men whose thought is actually living, moving b*y
virtue of its own intrinsic animation, and sharply distin-
guished from thought which is literally dead, haunting the
daylight with semblances of that which once existed in
Our "differences of opinion," our parting of the ways;
it is not those that matter. Not our conclusions, but the
mode of their birth, not the errors of our views, but the spirit
of our search, of our thought. I believe — I know that to
many of us the belief will appear visionary, and I will not
stay here to substantiate it — I believe that, given equal un-
detected honesty of thought and equal access to the avail-
able materials of thought to all, " differences of opinion "
must ultimately melt away, and all individual views
coalesce in all essentials. In other words I believe in
truth. Most of our " differences of opinion " are, after all,
differences of words, of mode of expression. And it is a
proof that our living thought, Our will to true judgment, are
adequate to their function, and that "differences of
opinion " are for the most part not the outcome of any
natural human imbecility, but of the adventitious permu-
tations poured by the social environment into empty bottles,
that our conclusions, our views and judgments do, as a
matter of fact, generally coincide in all essentials. Vic-
torian thought differs from mediaeval thought and frpm
living thought, but living thought differs little from Jiving
thought. It is because of the radical incompatibility
between the values and standards of living thought and
the deceased values and standards which the established
powers of the social environment decants from the urns of
the Past into passive recipients that our negligible, scat-
tered minority is appallingly estranged, isolated ^ in the
phantasmal world of survivals, in fundamental, irrecon-
cilable opposition to it. We are thewicked, the unpopular
ones. An unpleasant situation, distressing to most of us.
Most of us are in our souls overcome by the sense of our
defeat, of our impotent helplessness before the insolent
triumph* of the forces that overwhelm us — us, contemptible
little scattered army. We live under the ceaseless menace
of intrinsic perils even more formidable than the giant
forces against which our souls are pitted. We are lonely,
terribly lonely, speaking an unintelligible language; we
are " unpopular," with all the subtle penalties that are
implied by that word. And we are tempted to fail in our
strength, to doubt ourselves, to dilut3 the living forces that
actuate us, to yield and compromise, to "reconcile" our
thought, to clothe and disguise it, to make it " acceptable "
by a treason more deep than apostasy. And, on the other
hand, if we stand true and firm, we are prone to be
embittered, deeply soured by the ineffectual contest.
The fact is that in the present phase of human evolu-
tion most of us, the vast majority of our small minority,
have no clear apprehension of the positive facts which we
ourselves stand for ; we do not know what we are. We are
conscious of the abnormality of our situation, not of its
profound normal reality. Inevitably in transition minds
the " Nays " predominate over the " Yeas." The un-
veracity of the things to which we cannot assent is clear and
palpable; the facts, the veracities which they have concealed
from our eyes are not so immediately visible. The heaviest
charge that can be brought against the falsifications of
power-thought is not so much that they are false, as that they
have impeded the evolution of true vision ; not their direct
effect as lies so much as their indirect effects as substitutes
excluding truth is lamentable. Hence their dissolution too
often means nihilism rather than faith, the weakness of
vacuity rather than the strength of confidence.
We do not realise what we are, we do not know our
strength. We overwhelmed minority, we unpopular ones,
we silenced and vanquished ones, we scorned and denied
ones, we do not know that we are the rulers of the world.
It is little wonder that we find it difficult to realise it, we
who can scarcely make our voLe heard in the wilderness,
we who seem the most powerless of minorities. And yet it
is no mere optimistic paradox or pious opinion, but a real
and solid fact; we are actually and inalienably the rulers
of the world. We are the rulers of the world because we
impose upon it and dictate to it by an irresistible power
what is much more than its present allegiance, its present
thought and values ; we impose on the world the direction
of its motion. Be our voice never so feeble, be our voice
silent even, and only the inaudible work of our thought
proceeding within us, that thought is the determinant of
the world's motion. In the direction in which our thought
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
moves, in that direction and in no other is the world com-
pelled to move. What we know to be false is irretrievably
condemned, what we know to be true is the truth towards
which the world is moving ; our values and no others are the
values which it is fated to use. Our judgments are the
supreme court which decides the course of the world's
development, and beyond which there is no appeal.
The movement of all growth is determined by its
growing-point, the movement of all evolution is determined
by its most advanced development, the movement of all
thought is determined by the truest, by the most honest
thought, the movement of the world is determined by its
thinkers. Oh ! it seems so obvious that the thought of the
recluse, the solitary thinker, the " philosopher," that the
dusty old volumes on the top shelves are so absurdly
remote, aloof from the practical actualities of the moving
world ! Such ineffectual thought beating its wings in vain.
It is that thought of the thinker which, as a matter of fact,
has always determined the movement of the world. By a
grossly unavoidable and necessary law the topmost thought
infiltrates all the strata that lie beneath it, down to the very
lowest, down to the dim thought that is all unconscious of
the very existence of the thinkers, and to which his thought
Your demagogues, your labour-leaders, speak of
the mighty power of rebellious labour, of the power
of numbers, of numbers rising in their might, con-
scious of their strength. My numerous friends, you
are, but for the power imparted to you by the
solitary thinkers, as powerless as a lump of clay. It is
your consciousness alone that makes you powerful, and that
consciousness is the product of thinkers of living thought.
No movement, no change in the world has ever taken
place through the operation of any other force; no
Reformation, no French Revolution, no Nineteenth Cen-
tury liberations, no Democratic evolutions have ever been
possible save by virtue of living thought.
We, the few, the feeble, lonely, impotent, crushed,
gagged, scorned, triumphed over by all the vociferous
Powers and Presses — we are the rulers of the world, the
arbiters of its future destinies; inevitably, inalienably,
It is in no tone of fatuous exultation that I speak, but
in very sober and serious humility, and with a somewhat
overwhelming sense of the responsibility that weighs upon
us. How are we ruling our kingdom? How are we
shaping 'the future? Are we sufficiently honest, suffi-
ciently fearless? According to our honesty and to our
courage will the future of the world be. On us impersonal
forces in whom Life strives to ends that are not individual,
to ends of which we are but the instruments and servants,
to ends which are neverthless our own, because we are Life,
and the Future that will arise out of our scattered and
insulted ashes is nevertheless our future, there weighs a
solemn responsibility — a responsibility to ourselves.
Chinese Magic (i
By Algernon Blackwood
Dr. Owen Francis felt a sudden wave of pleasure and
admiration sweep over him as he saw her enter the room.
He was in the act of going out, in fact, he had already
said good-bye to his hostess, glad to make his escape from
the chattering throng, when the tall and graceful young
woman glided past him. Her carriage was superb; she
had black eyes with a twinkling happiness in them; her
mouth was exquisite. Round her neck, in spite of the
warm afternoon, she wore a soft thing of fur or feathers;
and as she brushed by to shake the hand he had just shaken
himself, the tail of this touched his very cheek. Their eyes
met fair and square. He felt as though her eyes also
Changing his mind, he lingered another ten minutes,
chatting with various ladies he did not in the least remem-
ber, but who remembered him. He did not, of course,
desire to exchange banalities with these other ladies, yet
did so gallantly enough. If they found him absent-
minded, they excused him since he was the famous mental
specialist whom everybody was proud to know. And all
the time his eyes never left the tall graceful figure that
allured him almost to the point of casting a spell upon him.
His first impression deepened as he watched. He was
aware of excitement, curiosity, longing; there was a touch
even of exaltation in him ; yet he took no steps to seek the
introduction which was easily enough procurable. He
checked himself, if with an effort. Several times their
eyes met across the crowded room, he dared to believe —
he felt instinctively — that his interest was returned.
Indeed, it was more than instinct, for she was certainly
aware of his presence, and he even caught her indicating
him to a woman she spoke with, and evidently asking who
he was. Once he half bowed, and once, ir spite of him-
self, he went so far as to smile, and there came, he was
sure, a faint, delicious brightening of the eyes in answer.
There was, he fancied, a look of yearning in the face. The
young woman charmed him inexpressibly ; the very way she
moved delighted him. Yet at last he slipped out of the
room without a word, without an introduction, without even
knowing her name. He chose his moment when her back
was turned. It was characteristic of him.
For Owen Francis had ever regarded marriage, for
himself at least, as a disaster that could be avoided. He
was in love with his work, and his work was necessary to
humanity. Others might perpetuate the race, but he must
heal it. He had come to regard love as the bait where-
with Nature lays her trap to fulfil her own ends. A man
in love was a man enjoying a delusion, a deluded man.
In his case, and he was nearing forty-five, the theory had
worked admirably, and the dangerous exception that proved
it had as yet not troubled him.
" It's come at last — I do believe," he thought to himself,
as he walked home, a new tumultuous emotion in his blood ;
" the exception, quite possibly, has come at last. I
And it seemed he said it to the tall graceful figure by
his side, who turned up dark eyes smilingly to meet his
own, and whose lips repeated softly his last two words " I
wonder . . . -"
The experience, being new to him, was baffling. A
part of his nature, long dormant, received the authentic
thrill that pertains actually to youth. He was a man of
chaste, abstemious custom. The reaction was vehement.
That dormant part of him became obstreperous. He
thought of his age, his appearance, his prospects ; he looked
thirty-eight, he was not unhandsome, his position was
secure, even remarkable. That gorgeous young woman —
he called her gorgeous — haunted him. Never could he
forget that face, those eyes. It was extraordinary — he had
left her there unspoken to, unknown, when an introduction
would have been the simplest thing irf the world.
" But it still is," he reflected. And the reflection filled
his being with a flood of joy.
He checked himself again. Not so easily is established
habit routed. He felt instinctively that, at last, he had met
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
his mate ; if he followed it up he was a man in love, a lost
man enjoying a delusion, a deluded man. But the way she
had looked at him ! That air of intuitive invitation which
not even the sweetest modesty could conceal ! He felt an
immense confidence in himself ; also he felt sure of her.
The presence of that following figure, already precious,
came with him into his house, even into his study at the
back where he sat over a number of letters by the open
window. The pathetic little London garden showed its
pitiful patch. The lilac had faded, but a smell of roses
entered. The sun was just behind the buildings opposite,
and the garden lay soft and warm in summer shadows.
He read and tossed aside the letters ; one only interested
him, from Edward Farque, whose journey to China had
interrupted a friendship of long standing. Edward
Farque's work on Eastern art and philosophy, on Chinese
painting and Chinese thought in particular, had made its
mark. He was an authority. He was to be back about
this time, and his friend smiled with pleasure. " Dear old
unpractical dreamer," as I used to call him, he mused.
"He's a success, anyhow!" And as he mused, the
presence that sat beside him came a little closer^ yet at the
same time faded. Not that he forgot her — that was im-
possible — but that just before opening the letter from his
friend, he had come to a decision. He had definitely made
up his mind to seek acquaintance. The reality replaced
the remembered substitute.
"As the newspapers may have warned you," ran the familiar and kinky
writing, "lam back in England after what the scribes term my ten years
of exile in Cathay. I have taken a little house in Hampstead for six
months, and am just settling in. Come to us to-morrow night and let me
prove it to you. Come to dinner. We shall have much to say; we both
are ten years wiser. You know how glad I shall be to see my old-time
critic and disparager, but let me add frankly that I want to ask you
a few professional, or, rather, technical, questions. So prepare yourself
to come as doctor and as friend. I am writing, as the papers said truth-
fully, a treatise on Chinese thought. But — don't shy! — it is about Chinese
Magic that I want your technical advice (the last two words were substi-
tuted for " professional wisdom," which had been crossed out) and the
benefit of your vast experience. So come, old friend, come quickly, and
come hungry! I'll feed your body as you shall feed my mind.
" Edward Farque."
"P.S.— '"The coming of a friend from a far-off land— is not this true
joy? ' "
Dr. Francis laid down the letter with a pleased antici-
patory chuckle, and it was the touch in the final sentence
that amused him. In spite of being an authority, Farque
was clearly the same fanciful, poetic dreamer as of old.
He quoted Confucius as in other days. The firm but
kinky writing had not altered either. The only sign of
novelty he noticed was the use of scented paper, for a faint
and pungent aroma clung to the big quarto sheet.
"A Chinese habit, doubtless," he decided, sniffing it
with a puzzled air of disapproval. Yet it had nothing in
common with the scented cachets some ladies use too
lavishly, so that even the air of the street is polluted by
their passing for a dozen yards. He was familiar with
every kind of perfumed notepaper used in London, Paris,
and Constantinople. This one was different. It was
delicate and penetrating for all its faintness, pleasurable
too. He rather liked it, and while annoyed that he could
not name it, he sniffed at the letter several times, as though
it were a flower.
" I'll go/' he decided at once, and wrote an acceptance
then and there. He went out and posted it. He meant
to prolong his walk into the Park, taking his chief pre-
occupation, the face, the eyes, the figure, with him.
Already he was composing the note of inquiry to Mrs.
Malleson, his hostess of the tea-party, the note whose
willing answer should give him the name, the address, the
means of introduction he had now determined to secure.
He visualised that note of inquiry, seeing it in his mind's
eye; only, for some odd reason, he saw the kinky writing
of Farque instead of his own more elegant script. Asso-
ciation of ideas and emotions readily explained this. Two
new and unexpected interests had entered his life on the
same day, and within half an hour of each other. What
he could not so readily explain, however, was that two
words in his friend's ridiculous letter, and in that kinky
writing, stood out sharply from the rest. As he slipped his
envelope into the mouth of the red pillar-box they shone
vividly in his mind. These two words were " Chinese
It was the warmth of his friend's invitation as much as
his own state of inward excitement that decided him
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
suddenly to anticipate his visit by twenty-four hours. It
would clear his judgment and help his mind, if he spent
the evening at Hampstead rather than alone with his own
thoughts. " A dose of China," he thought, with a smile,
"will do me good. Edward won't mind. I'll telephone."
He left the Park soon after -six o'clock and acted upon
his impulse. The connection was bad, the wire buzzed
and popped and crackled; talk was difficult; he did not
hear properly. The Professor had not yet come in,
apparently. Francis said he would come up anyhow on
" Velly pleased," said the voice in his ear, as he rang
Going into his study, he drafted the note that should
result in the introduction that was now, it appeared, the
chief object of his life. The way this woman with the
black, twinkling eyes obsessed him was — he admitted it
with joy — extraordinary. The draft he put in his pocket,
intending to re-write it next morning, and all the way up
to Hampstead Heath, the gracious figure glided silently
beside him, the eyes were ever present, his cheek still
glowed where the feather boa had touched his skin.
Edward Farque remained in the background. In fact, it
was on the very doorstep, having rung the bell, that Francis
realised he must pull himself together. " I've come to see
old Farque," he reminded himself, with a smile. " I've
got to be interested in him and his, and, probably, for an
hour or two, to talk Chinese " when the door opened
noiselessly, and he saw facing him with a grin of celestial
welcome on his yellow face, a Chinaman.
" Oh ! " he said, with a start. He had not expected a
;i Velly pleased," the man bowed him in.
Dr. Francis stared round him with astonishment he
could not conceal. A great golden idol faced him in the
hall, its gleaming visage blazing out of a sort of miniature
golden palanquin, with a grin, half dignified, half cruel.
Fully double human size, it blocked the way, looking so
life-like that it might have moved to meet him without too
great a shock to what seemed possible. It rested on a
throne with four massive legs, carved, the doctor saw, with
serpents, dragons, and mythical monsters generally.
Round it on every side were other things in keeping. Name
them he could not, describe them he did not try. He
summed them up in one word — China : pictures, weapons,
cloths and tapestries, bells, gongs and figures of every sort
and kind imaginable.
Being ignorant of Chinese matters, Dr. Francis stood and
looked about him in a mental state of some confusion. He
had the feeling that he had entered a Chinese temple, for
there was a faint smell of incense hanging about the house
that was, to say the least, un-English. Nothing English,
in fact, was visible at all. • The matting on the floor, the
swinging curtains of bamboo beads that replaced the
customary doors, the silk draperies and pictured cushions,
the bronze and ivory, the screens hung with fantastic
embroideries, everything was Chinese. Hampstead
vanished from his thoughts. The very lamps were in
keeping, the ancient lacquered furniture as well. The
value of what he saw, an expert could have told him, was
" You likee ? " queried the voice at his side.
He had forgotten the servant. He turned sharply.
" Very much ; it's wonderfully done," he said. " Makes
you feel at home, John, eh ? " he added tactfully, with a
smile, and was going to ask how long all this preparation
had taken, when a voice sounded on the stairs beyond. It
was a voice he knew, a note of hearty welcome in its deep
" The coming of a friend from a far-off land, even from
Harley Street — is not this true joy?" he heard, and the
next minute was shaking the hand of his old and valued
friend. The intimacy between them had always been oT
" I almost expected a pigtail," observed Francis,
looking him affectionately up and down, " but, really — why,
you've hardly changed at all ! "
" Outwardly, not as much, perhaps, as Time expects,"
was the happy reply, "but inwardly !" He scanned
appreciatively the burly figure of the doctor in his turn.
" And I can say the same of you," he declared, still holding
his hand tight. " This is a real pleasure, Owen," he went
on in his deep voice, " to see you again is a joy to me. Old
friends meeting again — there's nothing like it in life, I
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
believe, nothing." He gave the hand another squeeze
before he let it go. " And we," he added leading the way
into a room across the hall, " neither of us are fugitives
from life. We take what we can, I mean."'
The doctor smiled as he noted the un-English turn of
language, and together they entered a sitting-room that
was, again, more like some inner chamber of a Chinese
temple than a back room in a rented Hampstead house.
" I only knew ten minutes ago that you were coming,
my dear fellow, the scholar was saying, as his friend gazed
round him with increased astonishment, " or I would have
prepared more suitably for your reception. I was out till
late. All this " — he waved his hand — " surprises you, of
course, but the fact is I have been home ten days already,
and most of what you see was arranged for me in advance
of my arrival. Hence its apparent completion. I say,
1 apparent,' because, actually, it is far from faithfully
carried out. Yet to exceed," he added, " is as bad as to
The doctor watched him while he listened to a some-
what lengthy explanation of the various articles surround-
ing them. The speaker — he confirmed his first impression —
had changed -little during the long interval; the same
enthusiasm was in him as before, the same fire and dreami-
ness alternately in the fine grey eyes, the same humour and
passion about the mouth, the same free gestures, and the
same big voice. Only the lines had deepened on the
forehead, and on the fine face the air of thoughtfulness was
also deeper. It was Edward Farque as of old, scholar,
poet, dreamer and enthusiast, despiser of Western civilisa-
tion, contemptuous of money, generous and upright, a type
of value, an individual.
" You've done well, done splendidly, Edward, old
man," said his friend presently, after hearing of Chinese
wonders that took him somewhat beyond his depth' perhaps.
"No one is more pleased than I. I've watched your
books. You haven't regretted England, I'll be bound?"
c The philosopher has no country, in any case," was
the reply, steadilv given. " But out there, I confess I've
found my home." He leaned forward, a deeper earnest-
ness in his tone and expression. And into his face, as he
spoke, came a glow of happiness. " My heart," he said,
softly, " is in China."
" I see it is, I see it is," put in the other, conscious that
he could not honestly share his friend's enthusiasm. " And
you're fortunate to be free to live where your treasure is,"
he added, after a moment's pause. " You must be a happy
man. Your passion amounts to nostalgia, I suspect.
Already yearning to get back there, probably?"
Farque gazed at him for some seconds with shining
eyes. " You remember the Persian saying, I'm sure," he
said. " ' You see a man drink, but you do not see his
thirst.' Well," he added, laughing happily, " you may see
me off in six months' time, but you will not see my
While he went on talking, the doctor glanced round the
room, marvelling still at the exquisite taste of everything,
the neat arrangement, the perfect matching of form an'd
colour. A woman might have done this thing, occurred to
him, as the haunting figure shifted deliciouslv into the fore-
ground of his mind again. The thought of her had been
momentarily replaced by all he heard and saw. She
now returned, filling him with joy, anticipation and enthu-
siasm. Presently, when it was his turn to talk, he would
tell his friend about this new, unimagined happiness that
had burst upon him like a sunrise. Presently, but not just
yet. He remembered, too, with a passing twinge of pos-
sible boredom to come, that there must be some delay
before his own heart could unburden itself in its turn.
Farque wanted to ask some professional questions, of
course. He had for the moment forgotten that part of his
letter in his general interest and astonishment.
" Happiness, yes . . . " he murmured, aware that his
thoughts had wandered, and catching at the last word he
remembered hearing. " As you said just now in vour own
queer way — you haven't changed a bit, let me tell you, in
your picturesqueness of quotation, Edward ! — one must
not be fugitive from life; one must seize happiness when
and where it offers."
He said it lightly enough, hugging internally his own
sweet secret; but he was a little surprised at the earnestness
of his friend's rejoinder : " Both of us, I see," came the
deep voice, backed by the flash of the far-seeing grey eyes,
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
" have made some progress in the doctrine of life and
death." He paused, gazing at the other with sight that
was obviously turned inwards upon his own thoughts.
" Beauty," he went on presently, his tone even more
serious, "has been my lure; yours, Reality ..."
" You don't flatter either of us, Edward. That's too
exclusive a statement," put in the doctor. He was
becoming every minute more and more interested in the
workings of his friend's mind. Something about the signs
offered eluded his understanding. " Explain yourself, old
scholar-poet. I'm a dull, practical mind, remember, and
can't keep pace with Chinese subtleties."
"You've left out Beauty," was the quiet rejoinder,
" while 7 left out Reality. That's neither Chinese nor
subtle. It's simply true."
"A bit wholesale, isn't it? " laughed Francis. " A big
A bright light seemed to illuminate the scholar's face.
It was as though an inner lamp was suddenly lit. At the
same moment the sound of a soft gong floated in from the
hall outside, so soft that the actual strokes were not dis-
tinguishable in the wave of musical vibration that reached
Farque rose to lead the way into dinner.
" What if I " he whispered, " have combined the
two? " And upon his face was a look of joy that reached
down into the other's own full heart with its unexpectedness
and wonder. It was the last remark in the world he had
looked for. He wondered for 'a moment whether he
interpreted it correctly.
" By Jove . . . ! " he exclaimed. " Edward, what
" You shall hear — after dinner," said Farque, his voice
mysterious, his eyes still shining with his inner joy. " I
told you I have some questions to ask you — professionally."
And they took their seats round an ancient, marvellous
table, lit by two swinging lamps of soft green jade, while
the Chinese servant waited on them with the silent move-
ments and deft neatness of his imperturbable celestial race.
(To be concluded?)
Letters : Posted and Unposted (iii
By Constance Malleson
November Jth, 1918.
Such a day ! The streets are wet, filthy, streaming with
mud and slush, and the pavement is nothing but a pat-
terned mess of dirty footprints and puddles. The hot
smell of oil and petrol from passing cars penetrates almost
gratef ully through the coldness, for the rain is pouring down
and is sweeping in great gusts across the road. But I'm so
.... light-hearted ! All morning I've been walking
about in my " bonnet rouge," without an umbrella. I've
let the rain splash my cheeks, and trickle down my nose,
and beat all about my body. And do you know why?
Because my thoughts were flying on April winds, and I was
hearing the whole of the liquid bird-song that flows into the
world, as dawn fades before the greater glory of day. And
I wasn't walking in the muddy London streets at all. I
was striding with you through splendid country spaces, out
beneath the living sky. Your eager face was level with
mine as we trod the road, in time with one another, and
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Always I am dreaming of long days with you, days
spent deep in the country. To walk and walk and walk,
and then, when the sun is setting, to find one's self at an
inn. Do you know "The Blue Ball" at Countisbury?
And do you know that I love to walk all day without eating ?
" You look to the sun," Kinglake says, " for he is your
taskmaster, and by him you know the measure of the work
that you have done, and the measure of the work that
remains for you to do." Then, when the sun has spent his
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
glory, when the world is grown quiet beneath a faded sky,
when for the last two miles the road has lain wrapped in
darkness, then, it is good to step into the kindly firelit
parlour of " The Blue Ball." There, in that small, low-
roofed room, we two would draw close to the fire, and we
would watch the golden sparks as they fly upward and are
lost in the chimney's black immensity. On the tiny
window-sill of the parlour, quantities of queer green
plants live in dwarfish pots; and in front of the
window there's a long table, and sitting at it,
reading (waiting really, just for you and for me), there's a
dear Devonshire woman whose cheeks are brighter than ripe
apples. First, she'd smile at us, and then, laying her
spectacles down on her open book, she'd bustle off to get
the tea. When she'd gone, I know I should j ump up to see
what book she was reading. And do you know .... it
would be Wuthering H eights.
I should feel oddly moved finding that book there, and
I wouldn't come back at once to the fireside : I'd want to be
alone. I would go and stand in the doorway where the
fierce breath from the moors could sweep through my hair,
and the voice of Exmoor, the voice of the lonely places,
would be calling, calling to me across Countisbury Hill. I
would stand there, quite still, while the storm came rattling
over. And going indoors, I wouldn't be able to talk, just
at first. The small lamplit parlour and the shadows
chasing across the stone floor, would seem .... quaint
.... unreal. But the thought that came to me out there
in the storm, would have to be spoken : " // / had a son, I
would call him Heathcliff"
Perhaps for one short moment, I would see your eyes
burning from across the darkness And then tea ! A
big, knobbly loaf, and boiled eggs, two each, and a beautiful
big pat of butter with one of those delightfully superior-
looking swans stamped on it ! Should I get to know you a
little, while I watered the pot? And I wonder, do you
smoke a pipe in the country? No; I believe you'd still
smoke my cigarettes, while that naughty-child smile of yours
lurked about your mouth. Do you know ... Of course
you don't; . . . but / do; I know the absolutely first time
I ever saw you. It was at a labour meeting last spring,
when you were home on leave. " What a queer, rough
LETTERS: POSTED AND UNPOSTED
person," I thought. In that very moment, I saw you with
the Peak country as a background — the rugged, black, Peak
They say first impressions are always, eventually, right.
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Dear one, I love you .... and I have it in me to
give you a deep, deep love ; a strong and unchanging love.
Sometimes I think that in your face I have seen all the
beauty and the poetry of the world ; all the harshness, too,
and the striving, and the desperate hunger. But I think
that you have never quite touched bottom; you have
never known the pain, the pain that is beyond all
bearing, nor the madness, nor the despair, nor the very
agony that is at the root of things.
November nth, 1918.
They signed the armistice at 5 a.m. this morning. An
unspeakable thankfulness floods my heart and sweeps
everything before it, leaving no room for any other feeling.
Nothing personal matters any more, nothing
December qth, 1918.
The day before yesterday I saw you for a moment.
You looked terrible; so worn and haggard. Your face
haunted me all day. I spent most of the afternoon ringing
up stage doors and box offices to try to get through to you,
but without success. I knew you were rehearsing somewhere,
but I didn't know where. I was having supper out, but I
left early, and went straight to your house. I had to. But
when I got to your door, there wasn't even an answer to my
knock. It was all dark and empty. I peered in at the
windows, but everything was deserted. In your study a few
red embers glowed darkly among the dust and ruins of a
half-dead fire. I turned and walked away with a feeling
of utter desolation in my heart.
But yesterday, you came to me. You told me you had
tried to find me the night before. You, too, had come and
looked for a light in my window, but you, too, had found
427 p * 2
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
everything in darkness. As you talked, you went and sat
down in your usual chair. You looked very unhappy.
Your words came jerkily :
" Things are rather difficult . . . just now . . . I'll
have to tell somebody . . . soon. I've been in love with
. . . someone ... for a long time. I — I don't think she
loves me . . . and I must be loved. She mothers me . . .
I want to tell her about you. I want this to be bigger . . .
I want it ... to grow. She knows . . . that I'm hungry
We went out together. We went on the top of a 'bus.
We talked shop, plans, your career. I stayed with you
until it was time to go down to the theatre. After the show,
we met again and worked.
Sitting in your room, working with you, I began to think
that never before had I known happiness.
December Jth, 1918.
Yesterday was the last night at the theatre; and so
to-night, my first free evening, I asked you to dine with me.
and you said you would.
We dined at Bellini's. The first time I ever went there
was a glorious summer day about two years ago. It was
the sort of day that makes me madly extravagant. I re-
member buying a new hat on that particular occasion and
taking a taxi home to get my cheque-book (having no money
on me), and the saleswoman apparently thinking I wasn't
the sort to be trusted ! That hat (a winged thing just blown
together), was christened " Bellini."
I don't know why, but from the very first the place
reminded me of Paris. And I love Paris. You were
already waiting for me in the little hall when I arrived —
though I wasn't late . . . How we did talk during dinner !
You said at the time that you hadn't talked so much for
years. You told me about your time in the Army — 19 14
until nearly the end.
When we got up to go, the restaurant was quite empty.
We walked across Bond Street — a pathetic street by night
— and through somehow into Berkeley Square. We didn't
speak for quite a long time. We were so much more alone,
LETTERS: POSTED AND UNPOSTED
out in the open night; just you and I together, walking very
fast, we didn't quite know where. At last you spoke :
" It's Anne Howard I'm in love with . . . I've told her
about you — she still likes you."
I pressed your arm closer : " I'm glad of that."
We were half-way up Mount Street when you spoke
again. Your voice was choked. There was an awful
simplicity in your words : " Anne's in love with someone
" Are you sure ? "
" She told me."
Underground in the dark cavern of instinct, joy rose, a
small, devilish thing, wormlike, pestiferous. It wriggled
and leapt and crawled, contaminating the very depths of
my soul. Then from above a greater joy seized me : You
had told me. You trusted me. In that moment I became
equal to your trust. Your pain was my pain. The shining
claws of your pain were fastened in my heart . . .
We had crossed Park Lane. Deep among the stretch-
ing shadows of the Park we found two seats under an old
gnarled tree. I threw my hat on the ground, and you drew
my head down upon your shoulder. Oh, it was good to be
near you, and good to feel the cold night air against my
forehead. The stars sparkled like a million diamond
arrows piercing the velvet cloth of heaven. Infinitely far
and remote, the still dead planet shed upon the earth a
frozen and ghostly radiance. In aching bewilderment I
gazed up at the sky. I wanted to take my heart and lay it
upon the altar of the night.
" What does Dennis think about all this? "
I moistened my lips.
" When we were married ... I was awfully in love
with him. We were wonderfully happy. Then ... he
fell in love with someone else. That broke things up for
a bit, but now . . . we're very real friends. There's hardly
anything in the whole world we don't agree about."
The shadows deepened. They hemmed us in. They
lay like gaping trenches seared across the earth. My heart
seemed dead ; my lips dumb. I sought your eyes. You
drew me close against you, and it seemed to me then, that
the whirling universe had come suddenly to a standstill, had
lurched, and had remained deathly still. The moment
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
grew, lengthened, and reached into eternity — then, I felt
the passion of your groping hand. Our hearts merged into
the heart of all life, and were complete in fierce destruction,
I leant back, sobbing a little, my head upon your shoulder,
ipv cheek against your cheek.
Out of the terrified earth, along the ground rising, a
whisper came, slipping half strangled through your lips :
; It's Anne I'm hungry for ... I had to tell you . . ."
We went together to the stage door of Anne's theatre.
The show had been over some time.
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Alone, I walked until morning.
(To be continued)
By S. H. McGrady
Every afternoon the old Socialist went for a walk through
the fields. He walked slowly, leaning on a stick, for all
his life he had fought a hard fight. For years he had toiled,
and now, when all things were fading, he had no regrets.
This afternoon, when Spring, clothed all in white, was
dancing in the meadows, he had gone further than was his
custom. Never again, perhaps, would he gaze on the mist
in the elm trees, or hear the call of the cuckoo.
So, with feeble steps he crossed the tiny bridge over the
brook, and entered the wood. He felt rather tired. It was
a long time since he had come so far. At last, however, he
reached the little waterfall that splashed with silver spray
among the leaves, and, sitting down, he feasted his eyes on
the vernal beauty of the scene. Here a gorse bush flamed,
and there, fresh and graceful, stood a wild cherry tree in
blossom. Under the branches were shy anemones and
tufts of yellow primroses, and in the undergrowth a bull-
finch was calling to his mate.
For a long time he sat there, with his back against an
aged ash, and his feet at the water's edge. The sunlight,
peeping through the leaves, touched gently the grey hair
and patient, rugged face. He watched the tiny, brown
mice, squeaking and playing in and out of the bushes. He
remained immovable, holding his breath, while two wild,
glowing hares, with quivering nostrils, gambolled around
him. Then — save for the music of running water — all was
still, and the woods were full of beauty and a great silence.
A moment later a thrush poured out his melody.
For a long time the old Socialist sat there. Very glad
was he for this vision of spring. He thought of the spring-
times of long ago, when he and his merry companions
wandered over the countryside, looking for eggs or playing
robbers. He thought of the best springtime of all, when a
trusting girl put her hand in his. And he thought of the
factories in which he had worked, with the grime and grease
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
and roaring machinery, and the monotonous, never-ending
toil, while out in the fields the fresh, gentle wind was blow-
ing, and the buds were bursting into blossom.
But, most of all, he thought of the fight he had fought
for freedom. How, after the day's work was over, tired
and weary, perhaps, he had given the few hours remaining
to Humanity. For the cause he loved he had sacrificed
leisure and pleasure, domestic happiness even. He had
never received a decent education, and it was with difficulty
that he had taught himself to read and write. Literature,
music, art were not for him. Nearly always he had lived
among the smoke and dirt, slaving in the works, day after
day, year after year, with intervals for food and sleep, so
that on the morrow the human machine might be ready
again for the dreary, weary monotony of soulless toil. To-
morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow ....
It was not for himself that he had fought. It was not
for himself he had struggled against the hideous machine
that ground human lives to powder. It was not for him-
self that he had striven to express in words the wild
strivings and longings that gathered in his heart. He had
never had a chance. But the boys and girls, shouting and
playing in the streets, and the peaceful, sleeping babies —
life must be better for them.
Socialist ! How often had the very men and women
whose battles he fought turned against him, laughed him to
scorn. Yet he loved them, his comrades, not less, but
rather all the more. For they, too, had never had a chance.
Socialist ! Groping in the dark ! Yet, even now, there
were signs of the dawn. The thousands of ordinary,
obscure men, like himself, had not lived in vain.
So the old man sat there in the stillness of the wood,
watching the water splashing over the stones, looking up at
the patches of blue above the pine trees, dreaming,
All at once, however, he realised with a start that he
was not alone.
A short distance away, watching him intently, a stranger
was standing. His face was gaunt and pale, his lips firm,
his eyes piercing. At first glance the expression seemed
stern and relentless, cruel even. Yet there was something
about him that spoke of kindness and sympathy, as if he
had seen much pain and suffering, and knew that these, too,
are the gifts of God.
" It is very pleasant here," said the old Socialist.
" You are right," answered the stranger, sitting down
on the grassy bank beside him.
Although the weather was warm he wore a heavy cloak,
seemingly without inconvenience, for there were no traces
of perspiration on the pale, calm face.
" I can easily see that you do not belong to these parts,"
observed the Socialist.
" I travel a good deal," answered the other.
His voice was gentle, and for all his severity there was
something charming about his smile.
" All my life I have longed to travel, but being a poor
man, I have never had an opportunity of doing so. How
wonderful it must be to visit new lands, to see strange
peoples, to study their customs and ways, to realise that
all these men are brothers, that they, too, are crying in the
The stranger agreed. He condemned the caste system.
Divisions of class were nothing to him. Yet everywhere
society erected barriers. For himself he saw no difference
between a peasant and a prince.
" I am an old man," continued the Socialist. " To-day,
because it is spring-time, I ventured a little further than
usual, and I have been sitting here by the water, listening
to the birds, and living over again the years that are gone.
And I have been thinking, too, of the future, and wondering
if it will be well with the cause I have at heart. I want
all men to have an equal chance. I want to do away with
class privileges. I want the world for democracy. But
sometimes, as to-day, I am afraid. Perhaps, after all,
tyranny and capitalism will prevail. Perhaps there will
always be serfs and masters to grind them down. Yet,
whatever the future, I have no regrets; for I have fought
and suffered for the truth."
" Do not despair," said the stranger. " Only this
morning I arrived here from a far-off land, where all men,
without exception, have the same rights."
The eyes of the old Socialist lit up with enthusiasm.
' Tell me," he exclaimed eagerly, " tell me about this
happy, far-off land."
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
" In that land," answered the stranger with a kind
smile, " all men and women are equal. There you will
find no class distinctions, no monopoly of land or gold, no
corrupt politicians, no savage wars. For there all men are
" Splendid ! Splendid ! " cried the old man, clasping
" In that land all share alike. A king and a beggar,
going there, are equal ; and a nobleman and a dustman
receive the same treatment. There are no poor and no
rich — for everything is in common — no hunger and poverty,
no strife and cruelty and hatred. For all is rest and peace."
Music rang in the ears of the old Socialist, and glad
was his heart. Wonderful, far-off land ! How lucky was
this fascinating stranger to have lived there.
"Would you not like to see this country?" asked the
speaker, leaning towards him, " you who have struggled
and suffered that men may become brothers."
" Indeed, I would," cried the old man, his eyes spark-
ling. " But I am old and feeble and poor — as you see."
"Yet there mighty statesmen, and silver-tongued poets,
even the rich, would welcome you as a comrade, and you
and they would be one."
Fascinated, the old Socialist gazed at the pale face of
the stranger, and met his deep, piercing eyes. His limbs
were trembling, his heart beating violently, for upon him
there came a vague, indescribable feeling, a strange mix-
ture of contentment and fear. Surely, he had fought a
good fight, and now he was old and longed for rest. And
this stranger would help him, and show him the way.
" Take me — if you will — to this wonderful far-off land."
Smiling, the stranger stretched out his hand, and laid
his cold, thin fingers upon the fingers of the old Socialist.
" Come ! We will go together. I will be your guide."
And as the old man looked, the hard lines on the
stranger's face melted away, and he seemed no longer stern
and cruel, but full of kindness and hope. And his eyes
were those of a little child.
" Tell me," he whispered. " What is your name ? "
" I am Death," answered the stranger gently, taking
the old man's hand.
The Poet's Allegory
By Stephen Southwold
(With acknowledgments to the Fabulist.)
All through the long warm days of summer the grass-
hopper played among the grasses of the field. He sang
to the working bees, cheering their laden flight. Near by
an ant worked unceasingly. She held no converse with the
bees, nor listened to the song of the grasshopper. Always
she worked, storing food.
Now summer drew on to autumn, and autumn slipped
into winter. There was no grass in the fields, and the trees
were bare. The grasshopper shivered in the cold wind,
and vainly sought food. At last, hungry and desolate, he
presented himself at the ant's house, and begged for food
" What did you do in the summer days? " said the ant.
" Did you store no food ? " " None," said the grasshopper ;
"but I sang to the bees." " Sang?" said the ant. "Go
now, then, and dance; that will keep you warm." And,
laughing, she drove the grasshopper from her door.
(With apologies to God.)
All through the summer-time of life a poet sang. Those
who were laden stopped a moment to listen to his music.
Near by Big Business toiled unceasingly — deaf, blind and
silent. Always he worked, storing up money.
Now the days of the poet drew on to middle-age, and
soon middle-age slipped into impotence and penury. He
sang no more. At last, in despair, he presented himself at
the house of Big Business, and begged for food and shelter.
" What did you do in your summer-time ? " said Big
Business; "did you store nothing?" "Nothing indeed,"
answered the poet; "but I sang to the people. I made
music for the world." " Made music ! " laughed Big Busi-
ness ; " but did you make cent, per cent. ? Go to the
So the poet went to the devil, who received him warmly.
The Recognition of
Mr. H. A. Barker
By W. L. Williams
The petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury, signed by
307 past and present members of Parliament, was the
culmination of all the efforts made in recent years to secure
for one of the most devoted servants of humanity a measure
of the justice which was not only his due, but was long
Mr. Barker's claim has for many years been a single
one, viz., that the methods of manipulation which he
originated, practised, and developed should be recognised,
that they should be incorporated in the curriculum of each
medical school, so that the knowledge of them, diffused
generally among the rank and file of the healing profession,
might be available for sufferers through all future time.
He made no personal claims. He sought no personal
honour. Naturally he refused to endure " opposition,
contumely, and persecution " in silence, to take " lying
down " the " slings and arrows " of men who were for years
too prejudiced even to acquaint themselves with the nature
of the methods they denounced, or with the work of the
man they endeavoured to hound down.
The controversy between this one man and a profession
vast, wealthy, entrenched behind legal defences, and
strengthened by the possession of all the recognised
avenues of knowledge, is one of the most extraordinary in
the history of science. It was Barker versus the medical
world. Butthe issue is no longer in doubt. It is true, avowed
recognition is withheld by the Medical Council. But it can
no longer, on its platform, or in its Press, deny that Mr.
Barker has knowledge of methods unknown to surgical
orthodoxy, deny that he uses those methods with singular
and almost unvarying success in cases which the most
eminent practitioners have failed either to relieve or cure.
The whole world knows that to-day.
RECOGNITION OF MR. H. A. BARKER
The significance of the petition does not lie in the
request that the Primate would grant a Lambeth medical
degree, honoris causa, to Mr. Barker. It lies rather in the
fact that the petition voices powerfully world opinion —
that it demands justice for a distinguished public bene-
factor — that it asks for some recognition of knowledge and
skill laboriously acquired, but generously, even prodigally,
placed at the service of sufferers; for some reward of
labours which for years were attended with incredible per-
Let me be quite frank. Had the Archbishop granted
the petition of the 307 Parliamentarians, Mr. Barker would
not have benefited one iota as a professional man, nor
would his standing have been advantaged a single degree.
The Archbishop refused to grant the request because he
thought there was "danger of misleading the public as to
the exact character of the qualifications possessed by a
remarkable man." The Primate's fears were unfounded.
No one would have resorted to Mr. Barker for treatment
other than the treatment he has afforded for twenty-eight
years. The Lambeth Medical Degree would, without
doubt, have been welcomed by Mr. Barker as recognition
of his character and work from an eminent quarter, for he
has stated in the Press that " he was disappointed, for he
had hoped that the possession of the Lambeth Medical
Degree might have invested him with the necessary official
status to demonstrate his methods in the surgical schools
of this country." By this time Mr. Barker is utterly dis-
illusioned on this point also.
No, the real value of the petition to Mr. Barker is in
the fact that men of the highest standing, representative of
every section of intellectual life, have declared in a formal
document that they are convinced by evidence that Mr.
Barker is, as the Times said in a leading article (November
25th, 1912), "a benefactor of the public who ought to be
honoured accordingly " and " a master of manipulative sur-
gery who relieves suffering for which no relief can be
found elsewhere" That conviction is the basis of the
petition to the Archbishop.
The fact that Mr. Barker patriotically offered
his services to the Medical Board of the War Office
— only to be rebuffed — and was actually the means of
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
sending back to the fighting line many men who
but for his aid would have been lost to the country at a
time when every man counted, only strengthened the
appeal they made on his behalf. The petition is the ex-
pression of the judgment, universal outside the medical
profession, and largely within that charmed circle, that the
time has fully come for some reward to be bestowed on an
eminent, a patriotic, and an unselfish public benefactor.
Comparisons are odious. But how could public honours be
bestowed more fittingly upon anyone than upon Herbert
Atkinson Barker, who, to quote from the petition, " is
probably doing more to relieve suffering humanity than
any living surgeon." The Primate's reply has a peculiar
value, despite the rejection of the appeal made to him
on Mr. Barker's behalf. It underlines every statement
made by the 307 members of Parliament in the petition.
It does so after inquiry, investigation, and long reflection.
It concedes every claim of professional and personal worth.
" No one," says the Primate, " can read the published
account — the general veracity of which is unchallenged —
of what Mr. Barker has been enabled to do, or give
attention to the individual testimony abundantly furnished
to me by letter and by word of mouth, without reaching the
conviction that he possesses some manipulative gift of a
most unusual kind, and has knowledge and skill necessary
for applying that gift to the benefit of patients who place
themselves '.under his treatment." This is recognition
indeed — so full and unreserved that it compensates Mr.
Barker, I imagine, for much of that " oppositon, contumely,
and persecution " to which the petition refers in its closing
Further, that emphatic verdict is prefaced by an ex-
pression of a hope on the part of the Primate that, in
default of the Lambeth degree, " some means may be
found of marking the country's appreciation of what I
cannot but call Mr. Barker's eminent services to sufferers."
The Archbishop dwells very near the fountain of public
honour. It does not need much imagination to read
between these lines the Primate's private opinion that Mr.
Barker should be the recipient of some substantial mark
of the country's appreciation. I venture to think that no
one will disagree with me when I say that such public
RECOGNITION OF MR. H. A. BARKER
honour would arouse as unanimous pleasure and approval
as the Primate's refusal occasioned widespread regret and
One regret, and one regret only, lessens the joy Mr.
Barker's most understanding and, therefore, most sympa-
thetic supporters have experienced from this action on the
part of so many members of the House of Commons. They
rejoice exceedingly in the substantial recognition of the
genius, tenacity of purpose, profound and unremitting
devotion to his life-work, which is Mr. Barker's to-day.
Their regret arises from the fact that recognition
does not bring nearer the fulfilment of the chief
desire of his heart. To establish in the eyes of men
the validity and the value of his methods of mani-
pulative surgery, naturally enough, was his first and
greatest desire. Closely allied was his further ambition to
see his right to enter the medical schools conceded, and
the opportunity afforded him of imparting his unique
technique to the oncoming generations of surgical practi-
tioners. The missionary instinct in Mr. Barker is equally
strong as the instinct to explore. He desires to impart the
knowledge of his methods, but feels he can only do so
under conditions which do not reflect upon his character as
a professional man. Let it not be forgotten. Mr. Barker's
methods, as proved by the evidence of surgeons, are his
own, and the knowledge of them is not shared by any
orthodox surgeon in the world. Unless they are imparted
by Mr. Barker the knowledge of them and the skill in the
use of them will vanish with his passing. It is no longer
possible for orthodox surgeons to profess that they are
masters of manipulative methods, or to claim that they can
perform every operation Mr. Barker performs. This fallacy
has been exposed again and again. The number of
medical men who have passed through Mr. Barker's hands
demonstrates beyond controversy that he has a knowledge
and a skill which are unique. Let me quote one instance.
Lately, to my certain knowledge, two medical men —
one until recently a lecturer on physiology at the largest
hospital in London — another a present house surgeon at
one of the most important hospitals in the metropolis —
had to seek operations at Mr. Barker's hands for relief they
could not. obtain from their most distinguished colleagues
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
Medical men are notoriously loyal to their professional
brethren, and it is unthinkable that such men would seek
aid at the hands of an unorthodox practitioner, if they
could secure it from a qualified surgeon. Those members
of the Faculty who claim a knowledge and a skill equal
to Mr. Barker's are on the horns of a dilemma from which
I see no escape. Either their professional brethren are
ignorant of the fact that they possess this knowledge and
skill, or they are lacking in the faith which would impel
them to resort to those eminent orthodox practitioners of
No, experience has demonstrated that Mr. Barker's
methods are original and unique. Only a short time ago
a medical paper admitted that Mr. Barker " stands alone
as an exponent of methods of manipulative practice, of the
benefits of which medical men have frequently availed
themselves," and added that " common knowledge has
established that his art consists of procedures unknown
Is the world to lose them? There is a real peril of
suffering humanity being called on to see this knowledge
and skill lost, because the Faculty will not admit their
profound mistake and fling open the doors of the schools
to this singularly gifted investigator.
The suggestion has been made that either Oxford or
Cambridge should confer a degree upon Mr. Barker. The
Press supports the suggestion. The Daily News in a
leader said, " We hope such an application will be
promptly and sympathetically received," and added, "To
possess his name on its academic roll would confer a dis-
tinction on any university."
But even in the event of a favourable response, the
danger will not have been avoided. How are these
methods to be preserved for sufferers? That is the
question of questions for all supporters of Mr. Barker at
the present moment. His life has not been an easy one.
He has not spared himself. His friends saw with pro-
found concern the effect of the strain upon a not too robust
constitution by his patriotic exertions to aid victims of the
war. Not once or twice has he broken down. His
capacity for prolonged exertion does not increase, and he
finds himself able to treat effectively only a limited number
RECOGNITION OF MR. H. A. BARKER
of the crowds who clamour for his services. If humanity
loses the advantage his methods secure for sufferers, the
loss would be, to quote a medical paper, " not only an
undying disgrace to the profession," but a national calamity
of the most regrettable kind. Cannot an appeal be made
to the leading surgeons of the country to invite him to
demonstrate his methods in their hospitals? In those
institutions he should find a sphere where he could explain
and demonstrate his methods. This is his true ambition.
This is what would most satisfy his mind and heart. The
appeal to the Primate, supported by so many eminent men
— legal luminaries like the Lord Chancellor and Attorney-
General — by men distinguished in the political world — was
naturally a source of great gratification. It was an un-
paralleled act on the part of members of Parliament, and it
placed Mr. Barker's reputation on an unassailable basis.
It was an act of national recognition, probably unpre-
cedented in the annals of the House. But the great object
now is to secure the knowledge of Mr. Barker's methods
for all time. Ultimately they will be his most enduring
monument and constitute his greatest claim to a permanent
niche in the temple of Science and of Fame.
A ' i
Decadence in Singing
By Albert Garcia
What is the cause of the present-day decadence in sing-
ing? Two reasons are generally given — one, the lack of
good voices, the other — the lack of competent teachers;
neither of which do I consider correct. The voices of
to-day are every bit as good as they were 50 or 100 years
ago, and as to the teachers there are still some excellent
ones. No, the chief fault lies with the pupils; who will
not devote the time necessary to enable them to become
first-class singers; they want to arrive at the goal of a
finished artist, as quickly as they would get into an aero-
plane and fly to York or Paris.
The system of years and years of study, which our
ancestors devoted to the perfecting of their art, is a thing
of the past. To-day a few courses of lessons, and, hey
presto, the thing is done — at least, in the minds of the
ignorant it is — but how rude their awakening ! After a
short public career their voices — owing to insufficient study
— fail them, and they take to teaching, with only too direful
results. They get hold of some unsuspecting subjects,
and try to impart what little they have learnt, intermixed
with choice inventions of their own, possibly culled from
some of the many books on singing, and turned and twisted
to suit their own convenience.
Their pupils, in their turn, teach other innocents, and
so the thing goes on ad infinitum, gradually getting worse
all the time. Thus you hear of wonderful people who in
less than no time will increase your range from a few notes
to three, or more, octaves; who will make a bass sing
tenor, and a contralto soprano. Also there are teachers
who, by means of their marvellous exercises, undertake to
cure certain throat troubles, which our great throat doctors
themselves find difficulty in remedying.
About the only method which does not seem to have
DECADENCE IN SINGING
been taught is that of making the pupil sing standing
on his head, after the manner of Mrs. Crummies' per-
formance in Nicholas Nickleby ; but perhaps this may yet
No wonder one constantly hears the cry, " The teaching
of to-day is so bad." This, as I have mentioned before,
is not true in its entirety, and if pupils would only take
the trouble to find out a reliable teacher, and give sufficient
time, at least three to four years, for study, they would
certainly have a better chance of developing into first-class
artists; provided, of course, they had the necessary quali-
fications, i.e., a fine voice, vigorous health, artistic tempera-
ment, intelligence, good sense of rhythm, the patience for
long and persevering study, and the power of application
The great secret of the " Old Italian School," so often
spoken of, seems to have depended, as much as anything,
on the indefatigable patience and perseverance displayed
by both master and pupil ; and it is the appreciation of the
necessity of persevering study which is lacking in our
students of to-day.
I once asked my great-aunt, Madame Viardot, the
secret of the old Italian masters, and her reply, very slowly
uttered, was, "Albert, the great secret of the old Italian
school of singing was — PATIENCE."
Sims Reeves, in his book, says : " My apprenticeship
to singing lasted eighteen years " — and Sir Charles Santley
would certainly not have become the " king of baritones "
had he not devoted many years to study.
One point I should like to emphasise, and that is the
impossibility of learning singing from books. It is no
more possible to do this than it is to learn the piano or
violin without personal supervision, although, I believe,
there are some extraordinarily clever people who offer to
teach these arts by correspondence.
I do not mean by this that some of the excellent book's
written on the subject are of no use ; on the contrary, they
are decidedly helpful when a pupil has got over the
apprenticeship stage, and begun to understand his art ; but
they are difficult for the " tyro " to grasp, and might cause
him to try experiments to his undoing.
I should like, however, to cite one book which I would
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
advise all serious students of the art of singing to " read,
mark, learn, and inwardly digest " — I refer to Mr. Plunket
Greene's Interpretation in Song. It is not an of en
sesame to voice production, but for the student who knows
how to use his voice it is of incalculable value.
This brings us to another point, and that is the intro-
duction of the "rubbishy" ballad, rubbishy both from a
musical and poetical point of view, which has only helped
to push the art of singing still further in the mire.
Get the public to want only the best in song, and auto-
matically the standard of singers will rise, as they will be
obliged to prepare more seriously to appear before a more
One might argue that there is plenty of good vocal
music, but few singers capable of executing it — and why?
Because we have been dosed with the rubbishy ballad (only
too greedily pounced upon by the half-baked singers),
which calls for little study, and when the vocalist attempts
an aria by Handel or Mozart the result is a dismal failure.
Start with Handel and Mozart and you are getting a
foundation for the voice which is lasting and not ephemeral.
Would Patti, Melba, Sims Reeves, Santley, Ben Davies
have risen to such heights if they had only SLudied ballads
of the " rubbishy " order ?
Apart from the older classical writers we have plenty
of fine songs by modern British composers, to name only
a few, in alphabetical order — Ernest Austin, Granville
Bantock, Hubert Bath, Frank Bridge, Coleridge-Taylor,
Eric Coates, Frederic Cowen, Harold Darke, Walford
Davies, Edward Elgar, Herbert Hughes, Hamilton Harty,
John Ireland, C. E. Lidgey, Easthope Martin, Hubert
Parry, Graham Peel, Roger Quilter, Landon Ronald,
Cyril Scott, Reginald Somervell, Charles Stanford,
Vaughan Williams — why, then, descend to the trash too
often heard in our concert-halls to-day?
It seems, therefore, that a combination of two things is
helping to keep the standard of singing down — i.e., the
want of sufficient study on the part of the student, and the
rubbishy ballad helping the singer in his laziness. The
remedy is self-evident. It is for the singer to carry it out.
We have in Sir Henrv Wood and Mr. Landon Ronald
two great musicians who have devoted their lives to raising
DECADENCE IN SINGING
the standard of orchestral music in this country, and
undoubtedly they have done so. Why cannot the same
thing be done in the world of song ?
There is already in existence the " Teachers' Regis-
tration Act," which should do something to help matters, as
I believe no teacher will in future be registered without
having previously studied for a period of three years in
some recognised school of music. It is evident that, unless
a student has had the patience thoroughly to master his
art, he cannot be in a position to teach others.
It is not absolutely necessary for a teacher to have
been a public singer, as very often the best performers
make but poor teachers ; but he should, at any rate, have
studied with that idea in view, so as to be able to illustrate
to his pupils the right and the wrong method of production.
Singing being, to a certain extent, learnt by imitation,
it follows that the teacher who is able to sing a song, or
passage of a song, to his pupil, is better equipped than the
one who cannot do so.
Many seem to think that it is only necessary to play the
piano well to warrant their teaching singing, and I fear
this sort of thing is practised only too freely all over the
country. I recall when I was studying with Madame
Viardot in Paris, one day an American lady was an-
nounced, and after a little preliminary talk my great-aunt
asked what she might have the pleasure of doing for her;
the reply was, "I guess I want two lessons." Madame
Viardot, in her usual calm manner, said, " And pray why
two lessons ? " " I guess because it's a plural," said the
American lady. ' You shall have two lessons," replied
Madame Viardot with a smile. Here, at all events, was
candour. This lady was going back to America to say she
had had lessons from Madame Viardot.
Again, there are others who study the art of singing
purely from an anatomical and physiological point of view.
They will talk to you most glibly about the crico-thyroid
muscle, thyro-hyoid ligament, arytenoid cartilage, etc.; but
ask them to sing a simple scale, and they are done.
The question is often asked, At what age should lessons
in singing commence? Many people think sixteen years
of age in the case of girls, and eighteen in the case of boys.
Personally, I consider it not only unnecessary, but a waste
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
of valuable time to wait so long. Children can begin to
study when quite young, provided they are taught very
simple exercises, solfeggi, and songs in the middle part of
the voice, and for a few minutes only each day.
Many of the greatest singers were trained quite early in
life. Madame Viardot commenced to sing when three
years of age, and always advised the early training of
It is not only good from a health point of view, but
helps to prepare them musically for the time when more
serious study is undertaken. Especially in the case of
boys should singing be discontinued during the period
when the voice undergoes a change.
Careful training from the commencement is of the
utmost importance, as it is extremely difficult, in some cases
impossible, to cure faults acquired during the early stages.
The above remarks apply more expressly to children
under the care of schoolmasters and mistresses at the head
of the various private and secondary schools throughout
Instead, therefore, of deploring the state of singing,
and yearning for the " Old Italian School," it is the duty
of everyone to try to improve matters, so that our singers
of the future will be as great as those in days gone by.
After Two Years of Peace
By Austin Harrison
After two years of peace, and as the net result of the
peace, Europe lies, like a sick giant, in the palsy of decline.
There is no reconstruction. The promised land is a
nebulosity of greed and vanity, and even the hempen rope
that was to have hanged the Kaiser turns out to be a paper
illusion, like the great unfunded indemnities of the
Peoples. And now, at last, things are beginning to hurt,
for life is, after all, a reality, and so among the nations
that were once at war the peace is seen to be despair, and
in a Gregorian wail of agony men turn to their Maker.
For what? That is at once the difficulty and the
problem. We do not know. It is the recoil.
Mr. Lloyd-George hyphenates "on dope. We are
paying the price of Paris, that is the position.
The Carthaginian Peace is garnering its fruits, and
its incidence is social and economic war. Our diagnosis
is clear. What is the prognosis? That must depend
more upon the effects of Europe's ulceration than
upon her science or intelligence or spirituality, for these
are lost remedies, and the mood of mankind is uppermost.
The control of civilisation is wrong. Governments no
longer possess any resiliency. War and the war mind
still obtain. Politicians caught in their own nets,
obfuscated by their own vanities, delirious with their own
delirations cannot — dare not — make peace. A world
groans, sags and vomits. The puny princelings of war-
industry look to the left and look to the right, and point
at the map. See how we have re-coloured 'and dis-
tempered it ! Look, they say, at the new mandatory
annexations ! Behold our work, more spectacular than
Napoleon's, more cataclysmic than Caesar's ! " It is ours,
all ours," and when they have so spoken they sink back
in their arm-chairs, muted with their own fear.
Fear. That is the word we shall have to seize hold of
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
to understand the new world of fear created at Paris.
They built on the sands of fear. New Europe was to be a
victors' monopoly contained and constricted by the bayonet,
the enemy low, the victor high, and all around pyramids
or block-houses of ice were to be erected — to make the
world safe for the exploiters. And so the ramp on paper
began. We have now had two years of our fun. In-
credible fortunes have been made by speculators and others
with a fancy for the sublimities of the exchanges. In this
country the public apparently thought we had suddenly
grown fabulously rich. Our two years of inflation have
deflated the Peace of Versailles into limbo. As peace
slowly returns, and the sun comes out, our pyramids of ice
are seen to melt back into the water of their origin. And
now? Now, Caesar on his pyramid here, Napoleon on his
cock-horse there, Lord Jumbo of Hampstead or Pongo
of Mesopotamia — these gentlemen find their founda-
tions to be somewhat slippery. The ice is melting.
Our gold has gone to the New World. Our great super-
production patriotism is seen to be a myth, because the silly
" gents " at Paris forgot that to sell, others must be able
to buy. All around, the world is upside down. Every-
where the women and children in Europe are dying of
starvation. Everywhere unemployment has begun to
threaten production. Europe cannot trade. Cannot buy
or sell. The blessings of peace are to-day manifested in
wholesale European hunger; wholesale European poverty;
wholesale European unproductivity ; wholesale European
Mr. Lloyd-George, surveying his handiwork, casting a
contumelious glance at the wreckage of Europe's cosmos,
can well afford to fall on his knees before the ikon of his
own fatuity, and to the question, " What did you do in the
great peace, daddy ?" he can glibly reply : " I made Death."
It is there. More terrible than war, death is imminent in
the peace, the slow lingering death of decay, and in this
respect Europe resembles the shambles of Ireland. The
creameries of Europe have been " black and tanned."
With diabolic ingenuity Europe has been socially,
politically and economically insulated, regardless of her
economic life, regardless even of the trading requirements
AFTER TWO YEARS OF PEACE
of the victors. Like three jolly schoolboys playing
at three jolly pirates, the two gentlemen who
squee-jeed Mr. Wilson, treated Europe as if the map
were a water-colour impression, and nothing else mattered
save the satisfaction of their respective vanities and a dis-
membership calculated to give cartographers a good year's
occupation. They said economics " be damned." Give
us the coal, the iron and the oil, and we will " give you
a new order.''
And so these ingenuous map-makers recast civilisation.
How we applauded ! The Coalition was " divine." A
masterpiece, our Prime Minister! Houses? — Here they
are galore. Money? — Here it is in pails-full. Power?
— We are the elephantiasis of power. Security? — our
credit. Credit? — our paper. And into this orgy of
ineluctable megalomania a little book appeared dealing
with the relativities of space, which for the nonce seemed
prophetic, like a white cross flashed across the heavens.
Were our measurements wrong ? For a moment it shook
our fundaments. Was our circle incomplete? Had we
definitively girdled the world? But it was only a jar.
Crash fell the scimitar of Paris upon the questioners. " We
are." For two years we have been . . . . ?
Bankrupt dreamers, that is all. Bankrupt in policy,
bankrupt in kind, bankrupt in heart. To-day we must
bear the consequences. We can no longer doubt this
phenomenon. We dare no longer play with it. The
Bankers are getting nasty, afraid of the overdrafts. In-
dustry is uneasy, unable to unload. Credit is unhappy,
lacking a polarity. The pyramids of power are melting !
The sun is coming out again. The ramp, the saturnalia
of prices and wages, profits and credits, is coming to an end.
We stand before the chasm of insanity. Shall we step in,
or step back for the long and safe spring ?
Let us examine the position of super-production based
on pyramids of frozen power. It is very simple. What
we have destroyed is the law of abundance — supply and
demand; and Europe's troubles are merely the derivative
consequences of a peace which ignores economics for a
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
political map of hate. They, our masters, told us that (i)
prices would fall automatically with production; that (2)
credit would rise automatically with interchange of com-
modities; that (3) gold would restore the old parities of
exchange, which is the indicator whereby trade is made
international and harmonious; that (4) peace would usher in
a climacteric of love and prosperity. Nothing of the
kind has happened, because the diagnosis was false, like
the promise of the £23,000,000,000 indemnity of the Prime
Minister. On the contrary, prices have risen, and will rise
because at Paris / politicians created a manufactured
shortage of production, coupled with a constriction of dis-
tribution, thereby paralysing industry and the basic law of
economics. We have reached the end of credit, which is to-
day no longer fundable. The exchanges are growing worse,
because (1) there is no peace, (2) there is less production,
(3) there is a controlled distribution. In a word, when
politicians killed the goose they smashed their own markets,
trade being international in its function, and credit inter-
national in its mechanism. And so, what we find to-day is
not peace, it is war. It is not a higher distribution, a
greater supply, a keener demand ; what we have is a Europe
which cannot produce; which cannot buy or sell; which
cannot obtain credit; which therefore is incomparably
poorer productively than before the war; which actually
cannot possibly support its own populations; which is
doomed to stagnation and decline.
The Balkanisation of Europe politically might have
stood the test of a decade or so, but the Balkanisation of
Europe economically, as ordained at Versailles, spells in-
evitably death, for what has been done is to lower Europe's
purchasing-power; to split up and devitalise Europe's
industrialism; to deflect the flow of distribution; to render
trade and economic prosperity the national and imperial
prerogative of a political group. Political economy is thus
the world's problem. From an academic abstraction, it has
become a positive compulsion, a thrilling predicament,
a cosmic romance. More. It has become a world social
point of revolution. What we have won in the war is really
the end of the old economic order. We can test this over
Germany, who was to have been the milch-cow of recupera-
AFTER TWO YEARS OF PEACE
tion. To-day only an ignoramus can pretend that any sum
can be obtained from a Germany (i) which cannot feed
herself, (2) which has lost 40 per cent, of her coal, her
iron and her raw materials, (3) which has no credit or parity
of exchange, and cannot have in existing conditions, (4)
which finally cannot produce because she cannot acquire
either fuel to feed her industries or the material to work
upon : which, in fact, must discard some fifteen millions
of her population if she is to live as an entity at all. Had
politicians possessed a grain of economic sense, they would
have clipped German militarism but restored German in-
dustrialism, by which means alone Germany can pay an
indemnity. As it is, Germany has since the armistice
vastly increased her paper unfunded debts. She has to-
day a million unemployed, and two millions only partially
producing. Her money is depreciating internally to such
an extent that only the man who cultivates the soil can
speak of wealth, thus nearing the revolutionary point of
France, which culminated in the refusal of the assignats.
That, of course, is true Bolshevism. It means that
Germany is heading straight for a collapse, for Moscow :
and that means that the purchasing-power of Europe is
declining rapidly into conditions of insolvency. And with
Germany is associated Austria, which literally is living on
charity, and the whole network of the new little empires,
who have all erected barriers of economic tariffs, dis-
locating the mechanism of distribution, each seeking to
cripple the industry of the other, the whole drifting hope-
lessly and fatalistically into chaos and economic break-
The tragedy of the situation is that pre-war industrial
Europe could not feed herself, but lived on the law of
abundance. That law no longer operates. The result is
that Europe finds herself over-populated, unable to feed
or find work for her peoples, because to-day she is a poor
Europe politically cut off from the reservoir of supplies
and the mechanism of credit, and if this condition per-
sists millions of Europeans must die or emigrate to the
New World. There is no escape from this condition of
the Versailles peace. The economics of Europe are so
fantastic to-day that, to cite a few examples, it is cheaper
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
to bring .coal from America into Germany than to obtain it
from Teschen, a few hundred miles away. In North-
ampton the shops are discharging hands in the boot trade,
whereas in Germany there is a glut of boots. The
fabulous price of paper is due to the complete stoppage
of paper-making in Germany and Austria. Here we have
a bad slump in motor-cars, in Germany there are no cars.
Sugar is at its present price because the beet industry of
Central Europe has been destroyed. Sopwiths go into
liquidation because Europe cannot buy their bicycles, etc.
On all sides, the phenomenon is seen of super-production
here, starvation there. Those who would buy cannot, con-
sequently those who could sell cannot sell. And over it
all is the collapse of credit, and the nightmare of un-
funded national and foreign indebtedness. To say that
capital is reeling is not enough. Capital is actually de-
stroying itself through monopolist expropriation, vide the
price of petrol, paper, food, raw material, etc., and a
deliberate policy of disjointed distribution. Europe no
longer has a de facto purchasing-power. Even the
neutral countries are caught in the cycle of inflation.
After two years of peace, the currencies of Europe reflect
the true position of bankruptcy which faces Europe, and
to such a pass has this depreciation gone that to-day a rise
in the exchange of a nation implies that it cannot export,
a fall that it cannot import. The super-production point
of an unscientific policy has reached its climax in — slump.
We cannot sell because Europe cannot buy. Thus the
relationship between population and capital is the burning
question of Europe, and the problem is no longer one of
boundaries and indemnities, armies and victories, it is the
economics of the whole; the question, that is, whether
under the Peace of Versailles Europe is to go bankrupt
and to reduce her impoverished populations by 40 per
cent., or whether industrial Europe is to be re-born, to be
salved and shriven in her own wretched despite.
Since the armistice we have lived on empirical plati-
tudes drawn from the vocabulary of a hundred years ago,
when Europe was not an industrial organism, and boun-
daries were the playthings of kings. It did not matter
then to the workers of Europe economically to which
AFTER TWO YEARS OF PEACE
sovereign they owed allegiance, and credit was in those
days an English science. To-day, Europe is a highly-
developed industrial organism dependent for food upon
its mechanism of credit and exchange, actually dependent
for food upon the New World. We learnt that in the war,
when without America we should have starved. Hardly
a country in Europe is self-sufficient. The key of indus-
trialism being coal, it is obvious that industrial Europe,
politically recast to indulge in a coal-war, must perish, and
such is the condition confronting her. We who have coal
are abusing our monopoly by selling at a gigantic profit
to those in need of it, while ourselves dislocating the natural
supply of coal of Europe in the centres where it can be
productively utilised. There can be no doubt but that, if
the Silesian coal is torn from Germany, Germany must
decline into a pauper State, which, of course, is the avowed
intention of Parisian policy. The question is : Does this
matter? Is Germany or German industrialism essential to
Europe? The answer is not controversial. It is that, if
you pauperise the great free-trade industrial centre of the
old Germanic unity, Europe must lose some 40 per cent,
of her former productive and distributive power, according
to the law of abundance. A great weakness must result
as Europe's industrialism declines. In a word, Europe
would be far poorer, and as Central Europe could not
possibly pay the high wages now demanded, millions would
have to die or seek another world.
We have had a Brussels Financial Conference char-
acterised by a Presidential embargo upon all things apper-
taining to the mosaic laws of the Treaty; characterised
also by a proposal made by the Belgian Premier of an issue
of gold bonds, which was rejected as impracticable. The
sham was apparent from the first. Economics were sub-
ordinated to politics. Our maestros of dynamics still
regard economics as a secondary consideration, and
the result of Brussels is witnessed in a general set-back to
all the exchanges. Beaten on Geneva, the Premier seeks
another little itinerary as a complement to Spa. It is all
wind. Europe's problem remains undiagnosed — un-
touched. That problem is her depreciating purchasing-
power or debased currencies. And that problem is not
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
politics. It is the only real thing in the capitalist world.
It is the only real problem that will survive of the Treaty
of Versailles. All the other difficulties are derivative
symptoms, from Bolshevism to the " Black and Tans."
If Capital cannot produce confidence, capitalism is doomed,
but there can be no confidence unless and until Europe's
purchasing-power revives. Our monopolist prices here
will continue. The social unrest will grow. Misery will
come. Unemployment will begin. Production without
absorption will be found a chimera. And the process
of anarchy will continue until one by one the nations smash
and the system as we know it, and industrialism as we
seek to preserve it, are involved in the fall. There is not
much breathing-time now. Europe cannot Budget, and
America will not underwrite. The fruits of the Peace are
decay. The world's system is at stake. We shall enter
the New Order through peace or war.
Such is the diagnosis frankly enunciated at Brussels,
repeated at the Conference recently held in London,
known, of course, to all bankers and all men who have
in the least studied the facts as they are in Europe
awaiting now the sponge or pole-axe of actuality. As a
kind of nightlight the League of Nations has moved to
Geneva, there to inaugurate no man knows what, seeing
that the League is merely the refectory of an Alliance
itself centralised in, and dominated by, the rampant
militarism of a Parisian junta, which seems to imagine that
if it abuses Britain enough in its Press the economics will
right themselves. Europe starves because Poland wants
to cash her militarism at 1,000 marks to the £. There is
no statesman in sight. A tired and apathetic public looks
on at its "white-headed" boys in suspense and wonder-
ment, almost as afraid of Mr. Lloyd George as it is of the
alternative. And Ireland burns to Carson's Neronian
fiddle. Certainly a quaint achievement for a five years'
world-war — of freedom. Dr. Lenin grins. Twenty per
cent, of Europe's revenue is spent on militarism, yet there
is only about enough gold in the world to fund Britain's
debt to America. Any offers ? The answer is the " three
o'clock winner." Europe is racing into bankruptcy. Put
your money on the Coalition.
Credit or Bankruptcy
By Austin Harrison
In normal times, faced with bankruptcy, anarchy, and
complete social breakdown, Europe would have met in
council and — taken steps; first, to discover the ways and
means to avoid disaster; second, to apply the needful
salving measures, and, in particular, the business world
would have pressed such a policy in their own commercial
interests. Our Coalition, however, was elected to uphold
the Coalition, that is, the Prime Minister, and so to-day
there is no balance because there is no opposition; there
is no statesmanship because there is no principle or policy;
there is no appeal because the country still has the war-
mind, and the syndicate Press still regards its function to be
propaganda. None the less, Napoleon did not dub us
" shopkeepers " for nothing, and so, when the Matin, or
the " Voice of Paris," indulges in an unusually vitriolic
denunciation of Mr. George and Albion, we in Britain can
afford to smile, not only on the lie of the facts, but even on
the facts of the " lies " which to-day are the manifestations
of what Lord Morley would call " reason of State." The
truth is that poor France has been too seared, too
tried, too wounded to respond to her own truth,
and France likewise is not styled " Miss " for
nothing — her feline provocativeness is indeed her
soul and her fascination. Now, whatever our Prime
Minister may be, he is not an evil man, as French
journalists suggest; he is the spirit of the day, and when
the French denounce him they most pertinently condemn
themselves. M. Tardieu may be logical in upbraiding
Mr. Lloyd George for trying to escape from the horrible
entanglements woven at Paris when the enemy objective
was not peace, but the hapless, unsophisticated President
of the United States, who tried to reform the world through
a looking-glass; and no doubt the Premier deserves the
knocks he is now getting, but at least his intentions are
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
"honourable," and really, if the French don't care what
happens to France Mr. George has a right to care for our
fate if, tied to the ligaments of Gallic ferocity, we blindly
follow the paths of militarism by which France, hopes to
divide and devitalise Europe. Having myself contested
Mr. Lloyd George's seat for the sole purpose of reminding
him that we are " shopkeepers," not " Balbrigands," I must
defend him against the insults of Parisian newspapers, if
only to insist that Napoleon knew more about Britain than
M. Millerand, and that what Napoleon did for Europe was
to create the modern German Empire through his very
policy of dissolution which led through Waterloo to Sedan,
and through Sedan to our August break-through in 191 8,
which won the Great 'War.
Now, if France wants money out of Germany — and
God knows that she does— then France must be circum-
spect; and again, if she v/ants merely revenge, then
we in our turn must be circumspect, for both
policies are not feasible. And that is really the
position, and the potential of the Entente. As in war
it was "either or," so in the peace it will be "either or";
that is to say, France can obtain some £2,000,000,000 in-
demnity in time, or she can have revenge, which, one need
not repeat, means not only disaster to us, but irreparable
disaster to civilisation.
The case of France is desperate, financially and mili-
tarily. Her population is declining, has been declining
for years, and will decline for the same economic reasons
that now must control the birth-rate throughout all Europe.
But that is an historical argument; not so, however, the
financial problem of France, which is absolutely a farce.
Had M. Clemenceau been really far-seeing, he would
have banked on Mr. Wilson, who would then have let
France off her debt, and induced America to underwrite
French policy, even the mandatory system of Imperial
expropriation. But by fooling Mr. Wilson, France lost
American money, and it is as certain as anything in life
can be that in November a Republican President will be
elected to maintain a stand-off American policy : which fact
— and it will control — involves us so directly that auto-
CREDIT OR BANKRUPTCY
matically we assume America's position in Europe, we
being the sole fighting nation potentially solvent, and the
only Power whose bankers' credit matters two cents.
Are the French going to attempt now to fool Mr.
George as they fooled Mr. Wilson? It looks like it.
The Polish war is entirely France's doing; the new Balkan
entente is entirely the result of French militarism; the
falling purchasing-power of Europe is entirely the fault of
France, who refuses to allow peace in Europe; the crime
committed against Russia is due solely to France; the
D'Annunzio coup is merely the reaction of Italian annoy-
ance at France's cupidity; the high prices and outrageous
profiteering in Europe are the immediate fruits of French
policy, which will not permit Europe to produce or buy
and sell ; the stagnation of the League of Nations is simply
caused by France's refusal to give power to any such
League or idea; the resentment of America is the direct
reaction to a France who aims at playing Louis XIV. on
a Budget which she cannot balance even with an inter-
national loan. These are facts. It is idle to equivocate.
If permitted to continue, the conditions caused by this
French policy of pauperisation must end in a crash such
as the world has never known, financial, social and
It is inconceivable that French politicians do not know
this. They do. But the truth is, they do not care. In
their exhilaration they have become reckless, fatalistic.
They have stopped thinking: they just expect. They
hope to bend Mr. George to their will; to force Britain to
pay and to fight for a policy which means the direct and
Utter shattering of the economic structure of industrial
Europe. The question for Britain is thus purely economic.
Shall we participate; or shall we, counting" the conse-
quences, ourselves assume the direction, and in the
process some measure of cultural responsibility? I
have no sort of doubt as to the answer, because it is a
shopkeeper's interest, and it will be answered accordingly,
though whether Mr. Lloyd George will be the man to give
the lead is another matter. For our strength is credit, the
basis of which is confidence; now, if Europe is to be re-
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
grouped for war, not only physical but economic — and
Europe is so re-grouped — there can be no peace, no
restoration, and no alternative to all-round bankruptcy
which America will naturally keep clear of.
We are therefore placed before the simple choice of
credit or bankruptcy; militarism or reconstruction — i.e.,
fighting-power or purchasing-power. The fighting-
power is clearly illusionary, for there is no enemy to fight.
On the other hand, the purchasing-power is real politics,
because without it all the nations must decline into a
European V olker-W anderung, or a mass emigration to
those parts of the globe where men prefer warmth and
sanity to poverty and a death's-head glory.
And so real is this question, so pressing its incidence,
so frightful its prospects that, whether France agrees or
not, Britain will have to decline the Field-Marshal's way
for the tradesman's course of fair returns, seeing that we
live on exports, and that if we cannot greatly increase those
exports we shall not be able to feed our own people who
won the war for democracy. For us, the problem is food
versus exports, that is trade, which implies peace, and the
harmonious interchange of commodities. France may not
see this quite in the same light, but actually France is
upheld to-day by British credit, and if our credit weakens
nothing can prevent France also from reeling into a
financial impasse which even her prodigious present-day
export of rouge will not serve to modify.
Perhaps the most remarkable fact in Europe, as the
result of the war, is the extraordinary hallucination of
politicians and public that a poor Europe is calculated to
enrich the two Powers who have enforced this condition,
for they, too, will grow poor precisely in proportion with
Europe's economic weakness, and as both Britain and
France are now debtor nations, and cannot finance on their
respective colonies, it stands to reason that only a single
policy can possibly regenerate a system which stands or falls
on its own mechanism. That is why a Europe deliberately
weakened and impoverished to serve the military purposes
of France, not only must decline, but must crash, and I
CREDIT OR BANKRUPTCY
question whether any serious economist in Europe would
venture to dispute this. For us, therefore, our course is
preordained. It is trade and credit. But to hold that
position Europe must have peace — real peace. Europe
must be helped or she will collapse. In a word, the Treaty
will have to be revised, lock, stock and barrel, as, in fact,
it is being revised, being too utterly ridiculous even to
So far as Germany is concerned, we can do two things.
Let things rip until she repudiates ; or give her a few years'
grace to recover ; provide her with long credits ; repeal the
slave economic clauses of the Treaty and, if we really want
money out of her, we shall have to see that she gets her
pre-war amount of coal and raw materials, failing which an
indemnity will remain mere electioneering tosh too stupid
even to worry about. That is all. France aims at Ger-
many's break-up, and Paris refuses to fix a sum for repara-
tion, for Paris hopes to force imperial Germany asunder
through economic and starvation pressure. That is, of
course, why M. Millerand refuses Geneva. France wants
to occupy the Ruhr Valley, and split Bavaria from the
North, which she thinks she can do by impoverishing the
industrial North while buttering the agricultural South,
until at last the Germans break away in a confederation,
under the segis of France, on the model of the Corsican.
This is the real reason why Mr. George is attacked by
French newspapers, and why for two years Europe has
been turned into a howling wilderness of racial and
religious antagonisms. It is a vain ambition. America
will not finance it, and we cannot, and had we a statesman
France would be told flatly that an Entente on those
Hannibalistic lines is not to be had. She will be told soon.
In the meanwhile all will depend upon whether our Prime
Minister can brace himself to find a policy, in place of
mere opportunist jerks and furtive attempts to evade the
clauses of his own Treaty.
For us, Ireland remains the acid test of political
sagacity, and until we give the Irish the full measure of
Dominion Home Rule we shall find, face Lord Robert
459 Q * 2
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
Cecil, that the world will laugh at the League of Nations,
for that way is sham, and no League can speak, even
if it provides 50,000 cigars, seriously to D'Annunzio while
we let loose a gang of experts to spread terror in Ireland.
Similarly with Russia and Poland. We have allowed
one of the weakest Powers in Europe to arrogate to itself
an imperial sovereignty ludicrously beyond its capacities
and potentialities, and in the act we have revived all the old
Russo-Polish antagonisms and the war-point of Eastern
Europe. Europe has more war grievances to-day than
at any period since Napoleon. The Paris Treaty has
simply honeycombed Europe with hatreds and animosities,
and when that Europe determines to redress the wrongs,
we most certainly will not fight, and as France's credit
declines neither will she be able to. To expect America
to finance Europe as she is, the cockpit of at least a dozen
wars, is childish. Mr. Lloyd George knows that, hence, of
course, his belated endeavours to persuade the French to be
at least financially reasonable, efforts which, emanating
from the joint author of the Treaty, are hardly likely to be
And so there we are. What is to be done? Two
things clearly. One is for Liberalism and Labour to form
a Coalition for the purpose of acquiring a decent Parlia-
ment, and a Government of some principle and dignity.
The other is to tell France that, just as in war we placed
ourselves under French generalship, so now in peace
France must submit to our direction, we at least being able
to see over the thickets of hate and fear which at present
blind Parisian politicians. Then we could get on. Other-
wise we shall just continue sauntering downhill, getting
deeper and deeper into the morass, settling nothing, doing
nothing, except weakening the purchasing-power of all and
promoting European revolution. That may be the only
way out. I can hardly think so, because it is entirely un-
necessary, so that unless the Gods really mean us
to go mad, reason should assert itself betimes, and
economics. There must come a time when men will do
more than wonder at the high prices, the staggering rates,
the futility of life as it is to all but the rich, and when they
learn, as they are already suspecting, that these prices are
CREDIT OR BANKRUPTCY
simply the result of a non-productive Europe and the
elimination of competition, and that the workers of the
world have no intention of returning to a purely lowest
wages condition, things will no doubt begin to move
towards a European peace, by which means alone we shall
progress into the new social and economic order. For the
old order is dying fast, withering away through its own
insufficiency. We surely did not fight this war to make
Europe safe for blight and misery. In present conditions
we must all decline. We require a leader, but first of all
we must get back to facts and fundamentals, and face them
with that British sanity which has withstood through history
all tests. The spirit and intelligence of the country will
emerge from their tents. Then we shall lead once more
through example, and the war will not have been fought
(To G. E. R.)
By Henry Williamson
Against the deep blue of the sky a little money spider was
taking a line from one veined ash leaf to another.
•Although so small, he was easily seen in the waning light,
a dark speck moving with great care. It was evening time,
and the vesper hymn of warblers and thrushes, pippits and
blackbirds, was all but sung.
Throughout the day the great vibrant waves of sunlight
were plangent on the cornfields and rushing with golden
swell over the bee-visited hedgerows and green meadows,
vitalising the slender grasses and red sorrel growing in
;beauty with branched buttercups and incarnardine poppy
flowers. Slowly the day-tide of summer's light and glory
ebbed, the sun swung down from heaven and dipped its
lower rim into the ocean. The fields and distant oakwood
were bathed in yellow light, and like a golden sand gleam-
ing in the western sunlight as the sea recedes, the ebbing
tide of sunlight left its pools among the woods and the
hedges. Far away some children were singing as they
went slowly homewards through the closed buttercups and
daisies, and their careless cries were in harmony with the
I sat on a gate and watched the rooks flying over the elm
trees in the village below, where all was peace and quiet.
The wind sighed through the hedge : a dead leaf moved
listlessly, twirling as the wind spun it every which way.
The tissues of the tree's dead lung had decayed and sunk
into the earth; the winter had been mild, and the invisible
hand, composing and decomposing, had not yet touched
the filagree web of its brittle frame. On its parent ash-tree
it hung and quivered, never more to respond to the fire of
Gradually the children reached their homes, and no
more cries came from the meadow. The little spider
paused half way between the leaves, and hung quiescent.
Perhaps some flaw in his architectural scheme was apparent
to him, or he feared that the wind of the summer night
would destroy his foundation threads. Born only a few
weeks before, without tuition or practice, he knew the
angles of his pillars, the proportions of his stanchions, the
symmetry and balance of his walls. He had watched no
honey coloured parent at work, yet within his minute brain
were the plans of a perfect system to entangle the smallest
flying insects, feeble of wing, that would fall against his
The pools of gold about the oaks slowly drained away,
and the sky above became bluer in its deepest hollow.
Three swifts passed above, wheeling in final flight 'before
creeping to their nests of straw-speck and saliva under the
tiles of the church. The songs of the warblers and thrushes
as the light drains away, find an echo in the heart of the
poet, for they sing of the beauty of summer : the swift's
cries belong to the spectral light of the stars and the mystery
of infinite space. The swift is the mystic among birds.
The spider moved on as the first star shone from the
dusky bowl. Maybe his problem was solved, or that he had
waited for the beauteous whiteness of Lyra's ray. Slowly
he travelled to the leaf he had chosen as a base, paused
awhile, and crept back across his life-line. The rooks were
settled in the elm-tops by the church, and their " caa-caas "
came less often; the prospects of the next day's forage
among the new potatoes had been discussed thoroughly, and
were known to all — in satisfaction the colony had settled
down to sleep. Gradually the sun sank into the sea,
his furnace fire spreading its broad glow through the cloud
strata over the far horizon. One by one the stars crept
into their places, waiting for the queen-moon to lift her
head above the hills of Exmoor. Antares shone on high,
and Aquila, Sagitta, the Pleiades, and all the heavenly con-
course : Mars glowed red, with Spica Virginis swung low
in adoration and sending its wan green fires through the
eternity of space. Slowly the sun was drenched in the grey
waters, an owl quavered in loneliness as it fanned over the
churchyard; a jackdaw answered sharply, querulously, and
night had come to the earth.
A dim glow over the Exmoor hills, a halo of faint light,
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
and the rim of the moon appeared, like the head of a great
yellow moth creeping from its chrysalis. The glow became
a sheen of gold-dust as it moved higher; an instant only,
and it was free of the dark hills, sweeping upwards into the
concave of heaven. The great alchemist dwelling with the
spirit of Night changed her from gold to silver as she
passed among the stars : the sky 'became lavender coloured,
the moon dust falling with the dew and forming a gauzy
veil above. The boom of the waves pounding the distant
headland was borne on the wind burthened with foam-
fragrance and the scent of the sweet clover fields beyond
the village. It stirred the green corn, came fitfully, then
sighed to silence.
The last labourer left the inn and the village slept.
The walls of the cottages gleamed white under the dark
thatch as the moonlight fell directly upon them. I was
alone with the sapling wheat and all was still.
I was alone with the wheat that I loved. Moving over
the field my feet were drenched in an instant by the dew
that had fallen. Lying at full length on the earth, I
pressed my face among the sweet wistfulness of stalks,
stained and glowing as with some lambent fire, pale, myste-
rious. On each pale flame-blade depended a small white
light, a dewdrop in which the spilt plashings of the moon
were held in thrall. Each flag of wheat held the beauty of
pure water, and within their sappy blades glowed the spirit
of the earth — in the spectral silence a voice spoke of its
ancient lineage : of the slow horses that had strained at
the wooden plough through the ages, scarring the glebe in
long furrows that must be sown with corn ; race after race of
slow horses whilom moving in jangling harness, and to the
deep shouts of the heavy men. Generation after genera-
tion of men, bent with age and unceasing labour, plodding
the earth, sowing the yellow grains that would pro-
duce a million million berries for mankind. Spring after
spring, each with its glory of blue-winged swallows speed-
ing, wheeling, falling through the azure, the cuckoo calling
on the hills, and the larks spinning their silvern threads far
up into the sunshine. Through all the sowings and the
reapings for thousands of years the wheat knew that it was
grown for man, and the soul of the wheat grew in the
knowledge of its service. Lying there on the cool couch
of the silver-flotten corn, with the soft earth under me,
sweet with its scent of stored sunbeams, the beauty of the
phantom wheat carried me away in a passion of sweet
ecstasy. Faint as the sea-murmur within the shell, the
voice of the corn came to the inward ear. Ever the same
was the earth that it knew, the east washed with faint rose-
water in the dayspring, the lark-flight loosened upon the
bosom of the dawn wind, and the golden beams of the sun
shooting over the hills of the morning. It seemed but a
moment since the wild men had goaded the sullen oxen,
and with rude implements torn a living from the earth ; all
the great power of the wheat rested above the growing corn
now, of kin to the grains beaten by oxen, and later, by the
flails of the wretches who were ever hungry.
The moon swung its silver lamp among the Pleiades,
the distant roar of the surf floated from over the clover
fields, and still I lay there, one with the Maker of Life . . .
a white mistiness flapped in front, beating broad pinions as
it hovered, it dropped to the earth, and a shrill scream
trembled into the night. Fluttering like a moth, the
ghostly barn owl struggled with the rat, held it in a remorse-
less clutch by its powerful talons. Into the wheat field the
rat had come, urged by instinct to seek the means of life,
and he had found only death. Dreamily the owl fanned the
night with his broad wings — wings more beautiful than any
bejewelled fan — and then floated away to his nest in the loft
of a pottage near the church. Saddened by the conscious-
ness of life's tragedy — every form of life depending for
existence on the death of another form — I walked towards
the village, while a corncrake began his jarring love-song
in the far corner of the field, and the little flutter-moths
went down to drink the honey of the night opening flowers,
living their short life while the moon, soon to die, was in its
fullest beauty. And only the wind sighed through the
hedge when I paused to listen : the wind that was banished
of olden time and condemned to wander round the earth,
gathering, mayhap, the soul-flames of those broken by the
irony of all earthly endeavour.
The Decline of Literary
By Thomas Moult
The passion of the average book-reading Englishman to
learn what other people are writing about the books he
hopes to read has now reached an ironic and sterile stage.
A little while ago, the critical pronouncements of our
literary weeklies were of definite assistance to the reader
in forming an opinion of the worth of new publications;
most of us, indeed, are able to look back at (and sigh for)
the days when a critical notice in which some book or other
received favourable regard was a guarantee of the selling-
out of a whole edition during the first few days following
the appearance of the notice. Even in the year before the
war there existed a Northern bookseller whose habit it was
to commence the week's business by ordering up to a
hundred copies of a new volume which had been the
especial choice and the subject of favourable comment in
the local Sunday journal of the previous day. And Mr.
Arnold Bennett's weekly causerie in The New Age is
known to have made an even more practical impression.
But at the present moment, by all accounts, although the
critical essays in the reviews are read with as great an enthu-
siasm as they were ever, their tone makes no appreciable
difference to the practical life of the books themselves. In
other words, the recommendation is received attentively,
respectfully, and thereafter entirely ignored !
One supposes that the publisher's statement must be
accepted when he tells us that advertisement and criticism
alike are merely useful in keeping his name before the
public, and as a record of his publications; but it is difficult
to believe that the columns upon columns of critical letter-
press spread before us every week can be so drastically
futile as that. " A book begins to sell when it is talked
about," is the usual official opinion on the subject, but a
THE DECLINE OF LITERARY CRITICISM
publisher must be a pretty poor hand at his business if, in
face of that belief, he is still ready to pay ten, fifteen, or
twenty guineas for a page-sized advertisement in one or
other of the literary journals. It would be far more profit-
able if he were to arrange that one of his representatives
— able to cut a dash at a social function — should be present
at every dinner-table, every club gathering, where the
books are talked about ! Or, better still, arrange for the
preliminary copies of new publications to get into the hands
of the popular West-End hostesses, instead of into those
of the impotent critic. There is no better fate, commer-
cially speaking, for the average literary work nowadays
than to become a fashion among folk whose chief aim in
existence is to follow a fashion. Although, artistically
speaking, there is no fate which is deadlier; but, in these
days of degenerate aspiration, that, we regret to say, is of
Another paradoxical element in the matter is that con-
temporary writers are just as anxious for favourable notices
of their books as ever writers were. Indeed, all the mani-
festations go to suggest that literary criticism ought to be
especially powerful at the present day. When a writer
professes sublime indifference to the fact that opinions are
being expressed, or will sooner or later be expressed, by the
critics on his work, that writer may safely be classified as
one who either believes that you thoroughly misunderstand
him or as one who thoroughly misunderstands himself.
No writer worth his salt has ever been anything but pro-
foundly susceptible to the smiles or frowns of his con-
temporaries. That men, even the artists, are social beings,
is a truth from which we can never get away, even though it
may sometimes be a misfortune. We come, therefore, to a
recognition of three things : that the critical journals are
being read ; that authors are concerned with whatever the
critical journalists choose to say about their writings; and
that the critical journal is still a valuable link between the
three individuals concerned in the issue of a book. And
yet, withal, there was never a period of letters in which
criticism wielded less influence over the reading of intelli-
To say that the disappearance of the personal pro-
nouncement in literary criticism — its disappearance in spite
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
of the custom of signed essays — has done a good deal to
bring about this puzzling state of affairs would not be to
ignore altogether the fact that the most influential phase
of English criticism is that in which anonymity was the rule
— though, of course, the great reviews of a hundred years
ago gave in themselves personality to the anonymous critic
in their pages. And even then the most influential per-
sonage of all was well known to be Leigh Hunt. He had
a definite following which, his lean years notwithstanding,
never fell below the highest number that any one of the
critical reviews of our own day is able to count for itself.
Later came George Henry Lewes, Matthew Arnold, and the
other Victorians, preserving a sort of semi-anonymity, but
in each case the personality seems to have been so distinct,
so vital, that the appendage of a signature to impress the
readers was hardly needed. The question of whether or
not a new Arnold would be powerful enough to make his
own conditions were he to appear at this point of the present
situation is interesting, but only incidentally. One would
first have to show that the times, which are certainly devoid
of personality in other spheres, any longer require a
Matthew Arnold. And then we would have to prove that
it is not the conditions that make the Arnolds. It was
certainly the conditions, the presence of militaristic activity
in Europe, that gave rise to Napoleon Buonaparte. He
could not easily be imagined for a state of Utopian peace.
It is safe, however, to regard as impossible the return
of practical influence to criticism, so long as there is no
personality compelling enough in the same (and yet how
different!) sense that the personality of IVIr. Bottomley is
compelling enough with a million readers that they will, at
his mere utterance, purchase cheap fountain pens, believe
in the innocence of a murderer, in the roguery of a respect-
able member of Parliament, and boycott the efficient
German for the inefficient English watering-places with
undiscriminating cheerfulness. But it must be a per-
sonality so honestly powerful that the current suspicions
of cliquishness, self-interest, favouritism, and the other
deadly rogueries shall be relegated to Coalition politics,
their proper sphere. Its honour must be so infectious that
the advertisement pages no longer have the least influence
on the tone of the criticism itself. It will even compete
THE DECLINE OF LITERARY CRITICISM
with the libraries for the deciding" word in the fate of new
books. What the current influence of the libraries is may
be gauged by that of their prototype in the world of the
drama, the theatre agencies, which can easily ruin a worthy
play if it does not appeal to their first-night taste, by the
simple procedure of forgetting to purchase the usual block
of seats ! We had an example of this the other evening in
The Crossing, which was well received by the critics,
which was in its way a beautiful piece of work — but not
commercial enough. It was played for the remainder of
the one week of its run to empty benches . . .
That such a return of influence, exercised by some one
personality, is desirable may be doubted by many folk;
but, after all, personality is literature. An enlightened
and respectful democracy will, by the time of that return
(we should hope), have replaced the present bureaucratic
state in which everyone believes, not that Jack is as good
as his master, but that the master, being himself, is no worse
than Jack. The consequence to literature of this belief is
that we have come to regard the pronouncement of any
anonymous reviewer's three lines in a morning picture-
paper as of equal importance with that of the genuine critic
who has served some sort of apprenticeship to his trade,
who is at least aware that every imitator of Mr. Thomas
Hardy is not necessarily a " second Hardy," even though
his critical training be not so advanced as to appreciate
that the sacred books of the Aryan race were not merely
the Greek and Latin, but the Indian, Zoroastrian, and Scan-
dinavian ; or, as a writer in a contemporary is kind enough
to remind us, that the " literary " history of Europe since
the Renaissance is a mere interval between the highest cul-
ture of the past and the highest culture oT an epoch that is
yet to come ! Unfortunately, the publisher himself makes
no distinction of late between genuine criticism and the
three-lined notice; if he did we should not have the
unpleasant spectacle of self-respecting firms sandwiching a
quotation from the Athenceum or the Times Literary Sup-
plement between the brazen boostings of the Puddleton
Express and the Licensed Victuallers' Gazette.
Charwomen, not "Balbrigands"
By John Peeler
Swiftly now, drifting with the anarchy of the time, Ireland
is moving towards a situation involving not only the honour
but the justification of British civilisation. The Premier
may sneer at Sir Horace Plunkett, " unable to defend his
creameries " — words which will go down in history for their
hypocrisy and brutal callousness; Parliament may guffaw
at the plea of Mr. Bottomley to release the Lord Mayor of
Cork; England may still affect indifference to the fate of the
Irish — Ireland is and will remain our test, our civilising
example, and if we fail there, assuredly we shall fail in
Europe and within our own Empire.
Modern history nowhere, except perhaps in Armenia,
can show a more hideous picture of Christian mis-
rule than that of the secret junta at the back of Dublin
Castle, where Viscount French resides in mournful state,
a prisoner. It is a sorry end for the man who led the
Army at Mons. We are back in the days of mediaeval
sectarianism, in which even torture is resorted to. Yet
Viscount French of Ypres does not resign. The Prime
Minister speaks of " human nature." The world
Now, if Sir Nevil Macready's Black and Tans shot up
every town in Ireland, does any man imagine that the
problem would be settled? If every Sinn Feiner were
hanged on London's lamp-posts, should we have found a
solution? If starved down into Carsonian "loyalists,"
would Ireland cease from troubling? Quite the contrary.
There have been various rebellions since Cromwell sacked
Drogheda. The Irish problem will not be settled by mili-
tary anarchy, because it is now not only a genuine national
democratic issue, it is not only a dual sectarian feud, it is
a dual Catholic struggle in which political Rome and Ulster
equate as policemen.
CHARWOMEN, NOT " BALBRIGANDS "
Any time since 1914 Ireland could have been settled,
but Carson, on the one hand, and Jesuitism* on the other,
have prevented a Nationalist solution, and what we find
to-day is not so much the terrorism of Ulster as the im-
placable veto of political Rome to Irish National ambitions.
To a statesman Ireland presents an extraordinarily attrac-
tive problem, because in reality Sinn Fein is in line with the
natural evolution of British imperialism, and had we a
prescient imperialist, like Disraeli or even Mr. Chamber-
lain, we should find no difficulty in helping the Irish to the
Dominion status, seeing that in Irish freedom not only
would the age-long sectarian feud dissolve, but Ireland,
as a nation, must stand as an economic unit on the bed-rock
of British interdependence. To talk of military exigencies
to-day is unmilitary, i.e., unscientific, as every educated
soldier and sailor knows. The truth is that to settle
Ireland we must be prepared to deal with both Churches ;
any donkey can play the policeman, to play the Hun there
is the measure of our bankruptcy.
If the Catholics connive at terrorism at the expense
of their own flock, why should the Englishman who hates
the very name of Ireland bother? Why should Thomas,
who supports a dissenting denomination, worry if Catholic
shoots Catholic; if here Catholicism denounces Sinn Fein
while there it upholds it; if, in a word, the real bar to a
Nationalist or autonomous Ireland is not Carson, is not
English apathy, is politically and physically the Roman
Catholic hierarchy which foresees in a free Ireland the end
of Papal authority in Ireland. That is the true problem,
and it will never be solved by a George, a Cecil, or a police-
man, unless and until we, in our own world interests,
smash up, not the creameries and the villages of the island,
but the casuistries and causalities of Ireland's blood
Are those interests compelling enough to attract us?
They are. America or credit, the League of Nations, our
imperial attachments, our markets — these are arguments
we cannot blow aside with a sneer or a guffaw, and every
* Rome, which thinks England is reverting to the Apostolic Church,
naturally resents the democratic tendency of Ireland to free herself
on an agnostic bias. And Mr. Lloyd George actually plays up
to this snag. Alas ! poor Oliver !
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
month we delay our world difficulties will increase, because
with a diseased body in our midst there can be no truth in
us here or abroad.
Ireland is an artist's problem. It is not really Ireland,
it is the Catholic Church that is the issue, and every
creamery burnt down by Protestant Black and Tans works
not for Sir Edward but for those who would keep Ireland
a priest-ridden country under the educational authority of
We are shooting up the wrong end, that is the sickening
tragedy of this farce, and had we a sense of the sublime
or the ridiculous, or any gleam of far-reaching statesman-
ship, we should just walk out, Scottish pipes playing, and
leave the Irish to themselves, on the understanding that
any attempt at a civil sectarian war, no matter by which
sect started, would be put down in the interests of civili-
sation. It would not be Carson who would look the
saddest at such a stroke of statesmanship, it would be the
rival Church, and, of course, the small gang of assassins
whose game is anarchy. Have we no politician with a
sense of humour, an eye for real sport ? What a master of
wisdom Mr. Lloyd George would prove himself were he
to put charwomen in Phoenix Park in the place of helpless
but infuriated policemen, and bring back Valera on a
torpedo-boat, and bid Sinn Fein elect its first Diet !
Ireland would click into order within a month.
American capital would pour into the island, and Irish
industries would revive, like mushrooms, to our material
advantage. Why don't we do this thing? We could
always reconquer Ireland again, if thought necessary to win
an election. Why don't we at least attempt to do some-
thing positive, if only to prove our sincerity to a mocking
To settle Ireland strategy is necessary, not force. Char-
women in Phoenix Park, the Black and Tans to build
houses, and let the Irish talk it out in their own elected
Diet, in Gaelic, if they can. Let them have what we gave
to the Boers with so magnificent a success, and then let us
meet them at a round-table conference — field-marshals and
lawyers taboo — on the economics of markets and mutual
business. Without English purchasing-power, Ireland
would starve (I suppose even Mr. Lloyd George knows
WHEN GHOSTS FAIL
that), then, if there is any trouble, send Ireland, like
Lithuania or Palestine, up to the League of Nations for
sectarian treatment. We shall kill two birds that way, and
the League, automatically thus bringing in America, would
become a world live force, created and led by Britain.
As for Valera, he would probably be dining with Sir
Edward Carson within a fortnight of our first testimony in
When Ghosts Fail
Though Maskelyne's prestidigitations would seem a
perennial joy, the somnambulist ghostliness after the Rev.
Vale Owen somehow fell flat in theatre-land, which thus
shows that there is more in an illusion than an illusionist.
This has been the month's theatrical sensation. Vale
Owen is a glorious stunt. Mary Rose, which is a fairy tale,
is a splendid success. The Grand Guignol delights, but
Algernon Blackwood, who knows, who writes about that
other bourne with tact, feeling, and psyche-ness, he fails
dismally and catastrophically in The Crossing, which
should have been a winner as ghosts go. But there it is.
The ghosts of Blackwood were "sticky." Somehow, the
" creepy crawlies " never hopped over the other grass-
hopper's back; the disciples of Sir Conan stayed away,
Fairy Land stayed away, the agents who buy " on spec."
did not buy; as between the fairy stuff of Mary Rose and
The Crossing, the art of the novelist was uncashable.
Once more the stage points its lesson. It is that London
will not tolerate a serious play, even about ghosts.
One is tempted to inquire analytically into the reason
of this failure, for were a man to read Mary Rose he would
find it painfully thin, but were a man to read The Crossing
he would certainly recognise a grown-up quality which
would not bore him. But on the stage, what a difference !
Blackwood meant business in ghosts, Sir James meant
business on the stage. The latter is master of stagecraft,
the former is an intellectual. And here we come to the
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
core. Blackwood's illusion was reality, Sir James' illusion
was — illusion, which is what the public wants. It likes
being frightened, but not really frightened; shocked, even
emotionalised ; but ask it to think, and the spell is broken ;
the law of London's theatres is entertainment.
The White-headed Boy.
At the Ambassadors we are in Ireland, and there the
illusion is complete. There is nothing in the story, but
there is art, and in the hands of the Irish players a quite
local family fotln serves to enrapture the public who pay
for the Black and Tans, night after night. It is a joyous
performance, just real Irish, unthinkable as a play without
the accent, without the Irish players, considerably
westernised as they have become in their travels, without
that unity of production which gives every play they pro-
duce the full chance. The author has clearly a sense of the
theatre, like the French, and though his pattern is of the
lightest and his material a mere flimsy, he knows human
nature, and lets the club do the work, as golfers say, with
a fine natural swing. We laugh. We cannot help it.
Only a cynic would criticise so pretty a bit of mirth. The
White-headed Boy is a play. And it is successful.
Give thanks in our time for that.
The Great Lover.
This, we know, was a " knock-out " American success,
a thing that ran for years. The title gives it away. The
key-note is emphasis. Construction, presentation and
technique are of the old heavy theatrical kind. It is a
costume play; an actor's play; it is meant to put Don Juan
across the footlights, and crash home. As melodrama, it
is not bad, but it is very old stuff, quite wooden in texture,
pompously and conventionally conceived to suit a public
which goes to the theatre to see itself as it would like to
be, were real life not so entirely otherwise. This play
requires an actor, and fortunately in Maurice Moskovitch
the banalities of the theme receive large and powerful
treatment. He fills the stage. He has moments of
genuine drama. He compels admiration. He almost
makes us believe in the play in which more doors open and
shut than in any other I can remember. This is the kind
of stuff which draws the money, though the love is purely
WHEN GHOSTS FAIL
fictitious and the lover is essentially a convention, and the
women-folk are mere door-mats for the great figure to strut
upon. But anything great is good, especially a lover —
and so no doubt women will go to see how the male does
it and men will go to see how the women take it. Of
course, it is fantastically old-fashioned, and the leading
lady has an absurd part, which even the ridiculously ugly
latest frocks, worn with the latest wriggles, cannot redeem.
We simply don't care what happens to the ladies. Our
focus is the lover. Will he end up a sentimentalist? He
ends beautifully on — the telephone. No need to weep.
He is going to have another affair.
Now, Blackwood, when he wrote about ghosts, should
have thought about the public, like the author of The Great
Lover, for the distinction is vital. In La Tosca, the great
thrill is obtained off the stage, and in The Bells, Irving's
triumph, the horror arises from the little clink of bells
behind the scenes. So Hamlet's ghost on the parapet.
So the immortal knocking at the gate in Macbeth. The
moment the thrill is visualised, the illusion vanishes, or
becomes merely painful. True horrors or sensations have
to be imagined, and so we never see the Great Lover
kissing his brides or capturing them ; he chucks them under
the chin just to show that he can be mortal, otherwise his
indiscretions are conspicuous by their absence. Now
Blackwood's ghosts walked and talked. They " realised."
They crossed over. Instead of frightening, they calmed
us. The theatricality jammed. If ghosts can come in and
out like that, why read Vale Owen? Why go to the play-
house? And so the real psychical drama capsized over
the controversial problem of how to write a play. There
is money in ghosts, but not in real ghosts. That is to say,
the ghosts must somehow be in the audience.
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ESSAYS AND GENERAL LITERATURE.
They Went. By Norman Douglas. (Chapman and Hall, Ltd.)
js. 6d. net.
A fawn might have written this graceful, fascinating allegory of
modernism and the classicism, part novel, part history, a satire, a
poem, a tour de force of literary imagery. It is the best thing Mr.
Norman Douglas has done, for in this kind of work his knowledge
and riotous fancy have free play. It is a philosophy, too, and cuts
new ground for the old patterns ; for, to be sure, Mr. Douglas is no
revolutionary. A ferociously precocious schoolboy might have written
it, or a very wise old man. Full of atmosphere, in places amazingly
beautiful — how good the opening pages ! — the land of princesses
conjured up in this book reminds one of Rider Haggard, touched
with the wand of the French Academy. Had we such an institution
this work would certainly be couronni. It will be one of the books
of the year, and should be Rackham-ised in a Christmas luxury
The Romantic. By May Sinclair. Collins, Ltd. 9s. net.
If this is a reminiscence, it is none the less romance, something
lived, felt, and re-created, as it were, out of its reactions. Of the
women writers to-day, May Sinclair is perhaps the most notably
virile in style and expression. She is, in fact, a stylist of her own,
which in the modern novel is rare, and she has the real gift of
omission. Most women writers would have sentimentalised in a
work of this kind, but the author is too intuitively the artist for that.
She traces a man's character almost like an essayist, and succeeds in
portraying that difficult duality of psychology which in this case takes
the form of a romantic passion for courage vested in a natural
coward. It is a fascinating study, clear, incisive, suggestive, an
extraordinarily complicated achievement in a book so finely chiselled,
and, though it is not a love book, it is almost diabolically a book on
love. This time the male is not a "movie" hero, but he is a type,
and so in The Romantic we have a variation on the eternal theme
of why men and women love.
As the Wind Blows. By Eden Phillpotts. Elkin Mathews.
The Moon. By J. C. Squire. Hodder and Stoughton. 25. net.
The Wooden Pegasus. By Edith Sitwell. Blackwell. 6s. net.
Umbra. By Ezra Pound. Elkin Mathews. 8s. net.
Before us lie four volumes by writers of more or less established
reputation, but concerning at least one of them we feel as we read
that his reputation is altogether inadequate, at least in this, the
branch of art of which his present volume is an expression. Mr.
Phillpotts is known to most people as a novelist who has suffered
considerably through his inheritance of an intellectual outlook and
aesthetic temper similar to Mr. Hardy's. He is known to a few as
a writer of verse which for them has reached its highest standard
in such poetical prose fantasies as Evander and The Girl and
the Faun. But still fewer regard his verse in itself as one of the
serious outcomes of his temperament : and indeed a tendency to
lapse into the doggerel which the intellectual verse-writer is appa-
rently unable to avoid would seem to justify the attitude. That is,
if the aforesaid lapse accompanied every effort, which it certainly
does not. It is true that in his new volume, As the Wind Blows,
there are such pieces as "Bells of Varenna," a feeble echo of Edgar
Allan Poe which w r e remember to have been first printed in an early
volume, Wild Fruit, ten years ago : —
Bells of Varenna,
Bells of Varenna,
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
Artistically this means absolutely nothing - . Poe's refrain had at
least the merit of irresistible music. "There runs a pathway
through the wood Where lace the boughs and all is good " — except
Mr. Phillpotts's way of saying it : and his rationalist outlook betrays
him into such fallacies as that a Dartmoor stream (in an otherwise
sound and musical poem) strives above all circumstance to win its
"immemorial dream and predetermined plan." It is not the stream
that so strives, surely. . . . These and such like lapses make a
demand on our reserves of sympathy before we can appreciate at
their true worth successful pieces as "In the Valley," "In a Wood,"
and some rousing' dialect ditties. It is a pleasure to be able to pay
even this small tribute to one whose own honesty and breadth in
his pursuit of an ideal in art have influenced his younger contem-
poraries more than, superficially, we can estimate.
The Moon is a deceptive piece of workmanship in that its author
has adapted a form which in itself imparts a certain musical effect.
Mr. Squire has wisely restricted his own share in such music to the
subdued note which, rightly belonging to the form, is accentuated
by the double close. The total impression is one of overpowering
emotion : —
A night there was, a crowd, a narrow street,
Torches that reddened faces drunk with dreams :
An orator exultant in defeat ;
Banners, fierce songs, rough cheering, women's screams;
My heart was one with those rebellious people,
Until along a chapel's pointing steeple
My eyes unwitting wandered to a thin
Crescent, and clouds a swift and ragged sheet;
And in my spirit's life all human din
Died, and eternal Silence stood within.
This, however, is the outcome of an idea, and not a partici larly
fresh one at that. Mr. Squire's reputation as a poet seems to us
to rest in the last resort on his habit of description ; although
Alone and sad, alone and kind and sweet,
But always peaceful and removed and proud
could hardly be phrased in a more thoroughgoing way, be the
expression of any kind : nor could his recounting of what men have
made of the moon when they have brooded on it : —
Brooded, until they fashioned from thy seeming,
A lithe and luring queen with fatal breath,
A witch the man who saw might not escape,
A grave that gleamed in shadowy groves of death,
The tall tiaraed Syrian Ashtoreth.
In face of the existence already of poems on "Rivers" and "The
Birds " we incline to regard The Moon as one of those poetical
ventures which, as with Keats, sometimes result in definite achieve-
ment, and for which there is the adequate sanction of history.
Neither Miss Sitwell nor Mr. Squire would, we imagine, welcome
the recognition of certain resemblances in their poetry, but at least
in the fact that it is the outcome of an intellectual impulse that
resemblance is noticeable. The difference is that Mr. Squire's is
inclined to be rather generous and open-minded, whereas Miss
Sitwell's is hard and bright, showing a glittering surface in frozen
sunlight, so to speak, and as cold. Only a temperament such as
hers could employ words and phrases like "parrot," "monkey,"
"simian," "the monkey Fanfreluche," so often in the first three
poems, and still not think them squeezed too dry (if ever any juice
was in them) to use again in the volume whenever she requires a
word which seems easily atmospheric.
Across the fields as green as spinach
Cropped as close as Time to Greenwich —
it is not by such couplets as this that we must judge Miss
Sitwell's true quality, nor by her clever nursery rhymes (of which
"The King of China's Daughter" is a decided success). Whenever
a poet has thrown over the conventions, lock, stock, and barrel, it
ought to be for the one reason that he or she has no further use
for them, not because he cannot be at home among them. Miss
Sitwell's "Serenade" tells us how much at home she finds herself
there, or how little, and consequently how much (or how little) of
genuine poetry there is in her volume : —
The tremulous gold of stars within your hair
Are yellow bees flown from the hive of night,
Finding the blossom of your eyes more fair
Than all the pale flowers folded from the light.
Then, Sweet, awake, and ope your dreaming eyes
Ere those bright bees have flown and darkness dies.
Mr. Ezra Pound takes too much for granted. We have an
uncomfortable feeling, as we read Umbra, which contains all that
he now wishes to keep from Personce, Exultations t Ripostes, etc.,
that we are reading translations far oftener than he signifies. Not
only is the outlook entirely alien to the temperament accustomed to
express itself in the English tongue, but many of the lines are only
to be condoned if they are of poems done from some other language
into ours : —
Damn it all ! all this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let's to music 1
When Mr. Pound includes "Alba," with its "Ah God! Ah God!
that dawn should come so soon," at the close of each stanza, is he
suggesting that Swinburne also was taking too much for granted
when he used the same marvellous refrain without acknowledgment
to the Provencal balladist? "Alba" is one of the translated pieces
that we accept without question. It is a beautiful and poignant
work, and well supported by "Dieu! Qu'il La Fait" from Charles
d 'Orleans. Here are all the qualities of charm and musical phrasing
for its own sake that we find in Mr. Pound's original work also : —
Be in me as the eternal moods
Of the bleak wind, and not
As transient things are —
Gaiety of flowers.
Have me in the strong loneliness
Of sunless cliffs
And of grey waters . . .
THE ENGLISH REVIEW
How much more we would treasure this powerful fragment if the
allusions in the title and elsewhere had not made us feel uncomfort-
able about it !
Concerning Solicitors. By One of Them. Chatto and Windus.
The author of this thoughtful little work on solicitors can hardly
expect to remain a mystery, for the studious critic can assuredly spot
the style of a well-known writer who is a lawyer. It is not a book of
anecdotes in the vein of Mr. Bottomley. We are asked to consider
the legal profession seriously, and the writer does make a good case,
laying stress on the impersonal nature of a solicitor's duties in com-
parison with the rewards received, which are not monstrous, like
fashionable barristers, or, in these necessitous days, enviable. The
author is a reformer, but is not for fusion. He recognises change,
but does not like it. He stands for the poor, but clearly is a benevo-
lent aristocrat with a passion for human liberty. He writes well, and
there is a delightful satirical touch running, sub rosa, through the
book, which makes one feel that this solicitor is a very ardent fellow
who loves the "human comedy."
Radiant Motherhood. By Dr. Marie Carmichael Stopes.
Putnams, Ltd. 6s. net.
" Radiant " is the word for this continuation of Dr. Marie Stope's
philosophy, and surely all about to marry can read this book with
profit. In these days, when marriage is apt more and more to be
treated as an economic disability rather than a social contract, Dr.
Stopes provides a corrective so charming in its presentation that
no one could take offence at statements which in a novel would be
inadmissible. The truth is, the author sees marriage as a romance.
She delights in her literary accouchement of humanity. She treats
the union as tripartite, with an eye always on the baby. For masses
of women to whom sex, as the result of Puritanism, is a sealed book,
who are expecting to be mothers, and no less to youthful husbands,
this disquisition on the fruition of wedlock should be really useful,
for marriage is to-day on trial, and a new attitude towards love
would seem almost indispensable. Indeed, Dr. Stopes is doing for
women a Trojan work. She is educating them to understand them-
selves, particularly her advice to parents how to deal with children,
with their inevitable sex curiosity, has a charm which should attract
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